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Thread: Let's colonize Titan

  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Here is an idea to run past you:

    Let us say we can run tethers from Titan towards Saturn.
    At what distance would the pull be great enough to lift large hydrocarbon burdens off the surface?
    Titan is the best for ISRU.
    If I've done the numbers right, the L1 point is a little over 50 thousand km from Titan, similar to the distance of EML1 from the moon. It's roughly similar to a lunar space elevator.

    However, with Titan's atmosphere, it'll cost very little to deliver mass to the surface from orbit, and its low gravity and very extended atmosphere would make an "air breathing" booster far more effective than it'd be on Earth. An elevator would still be a bottleneck with limited throughput to a limited range of orbits and ground locations and scheduling issues with payloads competing for time on the tether, and its advantages would be greatly reduced.

  2. #122
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    I was thinking about a longer tether to use Saturns gravity to pull large payloads off Titan, like volatiles. Too far perhaps.

  3. #123
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    Astronomers estimate Titan's largest sea is 1,000 feet deep. Far below the gaseous atmospheric shroud on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, lies Kraken Mare, a sea of liquid methane. Cornell astronomers have estimated that sea to be at least 1,000 feet deep near its center - enough room for a potential robotic submarine to explore.

    https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/A..._deep_999.html
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  4. #124
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    It will be much easier to land on Titan than on Mars. For Titan, everything is decided by parachutes, in a dense atmosphere they are most effective, for Mars they are almost useless and can only be used for initial braking. Therefore, each armored capsule for Mars will require more engines and a supply of fuel for landing. Titan is deprived of such a problem in principle, it is enough for the colonists to sit in the landing capsule and build all the buildings by hand. That there is enough water on Mars and on Titan. In terms of resources, not much is known about Titan. It is believed to have underground methane lakes. Nothing is also known about the metals on Titan, unlike Mars. However, in terms of resources, it is still worth considering not a satellite separately, but the entire system of Saturn, so Titan here turns out to be much richer than Mars. Metals are found on other moons of Saturn, but more importantly, Saturn itself is a source of helium-3, which is an excellent fuel for thermonuclear reactors. The surface of Titan is very similar to the Earth, there are seas, lakes, crevices, canyons, mountains and depressions.

  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by cannongray View Post
    Metals are found on other moons of Saturn, but more importantly, Saturn itself is a source of helium-3, which is an excellent fuel for thermonuclear reactors.
    He3 is one of the more complex types of theoretical reactor fuel to achieve sustainable fusion. There's a reason we are starting with Deuterium/Tritium, it's much simpler, yet we have yet to master it. He3 is not viable and may never be; there are far easier solutions.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by cannongray View Post
    It will be much easier to land on Titan than on Mars. For Titan, everything is decided by parachutes, in a dense atmosphere they are most effective, for Mars they are almost useless and can only be used for initial braking. Therefore, each armored capsule for Mars will require more engines and a supply of fuel for landing. Titan is deprived of such a problem in principle, it is enough for the colonists to sit in the landing capsule and build all the buildings by hand. That there is enough water on Mars and on Titan. In terms of resources, not much is known about Titan. It is believed to have underground methane lakes. Nothing is also known about the metals on Titan, unlike Mars. However, in terms of resources, it is still worth considering not a satellite separately, but the entire system of Saturn, so Titan here turns out to be much richer than Mars. Metals are found on other moons of Saturn, but more importantly, Saturn itself is a source of helium-3, which is an excellent fuel for thermonuclear reactors. The surface of Titan is very similar to the Earth, there are seas, lakes, crevices, canyons, mountains and depressions.
    It is easier to land a small probe on Titan using parachutes. Parachutes that can brake a large spacecraft are extremely difficult no matter how dense the atmosphere is. (And really, even small probes might do better with air brakes and shock-absorbing landing gear.) And landing on Earth, Mars, or Titan doesn't require much propellant...for Starship, somewhere around a couple percent of its full propellant load. (A possible problem for Titan is that it may need special landing rockets with smaller nozzles due to its denser atmosphere.)

    Further, parachutes can't manage the landing precision that rockets can. The first few landings might not need that much precision, but if you're seriously starting a colony, you're pretty quickly going to want spacecraft to come down on specific pads at a spaceport.

    And helium-3 is not an "excellent fuel for thermonuclear reactors". It is far more difficult to fuse than the mix of deuterium and tritium that current projects are working with, and so limited in supply here on Earth that people suggest things like going to Saturn or strip mining trace quantities from lunar regolith to get it. The main reason anyone even considers it is that fusing it produces few neutrons, but p-B11 fusion is also aneutronic, and doesn't rely on ridiculously scarce fuels. There's no reason to expect anyone to ever go to the bother of developing helium-3 fusion.

  7. #127
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    You first
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  8. #128
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    What’s the weather like on Titan? We now know – thanks to the Cassini mission to Saturn, which arrived in 2004 and lasted until 2017 – that powerful wind storms roved across Titan around the time of its 2008 equinox, producing soot that fell like rain and creating dunes on Titan’s surface.

    https://earthsky.org/space/titan-sat...ne-rain-storms
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  9. #129
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    Newly released paper on Titan:

    Titan: Earth-like on the Outside, Ocean World on the Inside

    Shannon M. MacKenzie, Samuel P.D. Birch, Sarah Horst, Christophe Sotin, Erika Barth, Juan M. Lora, Melissa G. Trainer, Paul Corlies, Michael J. Malaska, Ella Sciamma-O'Brien, Alexander E. Thelen, Elizabeth P. Turtle, Jani Radebaugh, Jennifer Hanley, Anezina Solomonidou, Claire Newman, Leonardo Regoli, Sebastien Rodriguez, Benoit Seignovert, Alexander G. Hayes, Baptiste Journaux, Jordan Steckloff, Delphine Nna-Mvondo, Thomas Cornet, Maureen Palmer, Rosaly M.C. Lopes, Sandrine Vinatier, Ralph Lorenz, Conor Nixon, Ellen Czaplinski, Jason W. Barnes, Ed Sittler, Andrew Coates

    Thanks to the Cassini-Huygens mission, Titan, the pale orange dot of Pioneer and Voyager encounters has been revealed to be a dynamic, hydrologically-shaped, organic-rich ocean world offering unparalleled opportunities to explore prebiotic chemistry. And while Cassini-Huygens revolutionized our understanding of each of the three layers of Titan--the atmosphere, the surface, and the interior--we are only beginning to hypothesize how these realms interact. In this paper, we summarize the current state of Titan knowledge and discuss how future exploration of Titan would address some of the next decade's most compelling planetary science questions. We also demonstrate why exploring Titan, both with and beyond the Dragonfly New Frontiers mission, is a necessary and complementary component of an Ocean Worlds Program that seeks to understand whether habitable environments exist elsewhere in our solar system.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/2102.08472
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  10. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    <snip>Thanks to the Cassini-Huygens mission, Titan, the pale orange dot of Pioneer and Voyager encounters has been revealed to be a dynamic, hydrologically-shaped, organic-rich ocean world offering unparalleled opportunities to explore prebiotic chemistry.
    My bold. Hydrologically-shaped means that the surface was shaped by water. I may be picking a nit here but it's difficult to envision any conditions on Titan where water shaped anything. I'm guessing they have used the term "hydrological" to show that shaping processes on Titan mimic earth-based processes, with methane and ethane taking the place of water.

    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hydrology

    Noun[edit]hydrology (usually uncountable, plural hydrologies)

    1. The science of the properties, distribution, and effects of water on a planet's surface, in the soil and underlying rocks, and in the atmosphere
    2. The properties, distribution, and flows of water in a specific locale; the hydrological characteristics of a particular place or region.
    I suppose if you parse "hydrological" you can extract "hydro" to mean "hydrogen-based" or "coupled to hydrogen" and from that we are talking about the effects of liquid hydrocarbons modeling a surface....but that seems like a stretch.

    I'm not knocking the work - it's amazing how closely what is seen on Titan parallels Earth-based processes. The authors have a done a good job of illustrating and explaining the processes on Titan.

    I hope that Dragonfly becomes reality, although with an estimated arrival in 2034 (but probably later, if at all) I doubt it's in my lifetime.
    Last edited by schlaugh; 2021-Feb-18 at 04:28 PM. Reason: added link

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