Quirks & Quarks

Forget Mars. Let's all move to Titan

Why one of Saturn's moons should be humanity's plan b.
The colourful globe of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, passes in front of the planet and its rings in this true colour snapshot from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (NASA)
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There are two reasons we might one day leave our planet to colonize another body in our solar system.

One is that it's in our nature to explore and seek out what lies beyond the next horizon. 

The other, according to prominent voices like that of Dr. Stephen Hawking, is that the threats to our planet and our species in the coming century will be so dangerous, that humanity's survival will depend on us leaving the planet. 

A flattened (Mercator) projection of the Huygens probe's view from 10 kilometres altitude. (NASA)

Agree with him or not, humans are already poised to take the next leap off our planet. So far, Mars is the planet that's been getting all the attention. 

But a new book has another destination in sight.  

In Beyond Earth, Dr. Amanda Hendrix suggests that a more practical option would be to explore Saturn's moon, Titan. According to NASA, "In many respects, Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is one of the most Earth-like worlds we have found to date."

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