Scientists are sending a submarine to Titan to explore its alien oceans in search for life and to possibly understand how life began on our planet. Researchers are studying two main oceans on Titan: the Kraken Mare and Ligeia Mare. Both of which were discovered by the Cassini space probe. Ligeia Mare is less than 200 meters deep, but Kraken Mare’s depth is unknown so sending this submarine could answer a lot of questions including its depth.
Titan might also answer a lot of geological Earth questions, because it is composed of a nitrogen-rich atmosphere. It also has seasonal cycles, ocean waves, ice water possible landscape erosions, and a hot rocky core. This moon seems to have a lot in common with Earth. The goal is to have the submarine dive deep into the oceans and look at heavy metals that might have settled down to the bottom by using a mass spectrometer to measure the elements and see what they’re made of.
Researchers at Washington State University have partnered with NASA to try and re-create the oceans of Titan, but in a lab here on Earth. They did this by making a pressurized chamber and filling it with liquid methane, liquid ethane, and nitrogen gas. Then they cooled it to about -150 degrees celsius, and boom! A mini-Titan ocean!