Washington: The search for life beyond Earth has always fascinated scientists and a new development has fueled hopes of discovering life on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
Recently, researchers released the first complete map of the surface of Saturn’s Titan and it was found out that the celestial satellite shares many similarities with our home-Earth.
The data gathered from NASA’s Cassini mission, points out six geological features on Titan, including plains, dunes, craters, lakes, and mountainous terrains and other terrains. Titan is also home to seas and lakes, making it the only place in the solar system other than Earth with known bodies of liquid. However, unlike Earth, the lakes are made of frozen methane instead of water.
“Titan has an atmosphere like Earth. It has wind, it has rain, it has mountains. It’s a really very interesting world, and one of the best places in the Solar System to look for life,” Rosaly Lopes, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said.
”Despite the different materials, temperatures and gravity fields between Earth and Titan, many surface features are similar between the two worlds and can be interpreted as being products of the same geologic processes,” Lopes added.
Saturn’s moon Titan, has always been a top target in the search for alien life and multiple missions have been undertaken by NASA to find the same. This year, in June, NASA unveiled Dragonfly, the latest mission in its New Frontiers program, to explore Titan, which could potentially host extraterrestrial life.
Between 2004 and 2017, the NASA spacecraft Cassini performed more than 100 fly-bys of Saturn’s moon.
In 2017, an important building block of life was discovered in the hazy upper atmosphere of Titan, by a team led by an Indian-origin researcher.