Titan: Another special neighbor

This week’s mapping by Cassini of mountains on Titan brings back into focus another intriguing member of our solar system.

Cassini has found what is believed to be the highest mountain on Titan, a 10,948 peak near the equator.

Titan is bigger than Mercury and smaller than Mars. It is not a hospitable place. The surface temperature is about minus 280 degrees Fahrenheit and the air pressure is approximately 22 pounds per square inch compared with roughly 15 psi on earth. Titan’s gravity is slightly less than that of the Moon.

Yet NASA has described Titan as “ . . . one of the most Earth like worlds we have found to date.” The reasons lie in the unique combination of Titan’s composition, its distance from the Sun and its place in the orbit of Saturn.
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