Is Titan the better Mars? Why we should really consider Saturn's Moon for space colonization.
If you think of space colonization, you’ll always seem to end up on the Red Planet. There’s a massive media presence suggesting that’s the best and inevitable place to start for humanity (not to mention the hype about people like Elon Musk who love to elevate themselves above us all, but providing nothing but tax-payer funded "half-assed solutions" so far instead of a real deal).
Technology isn’t that big of an issue any more and even though we’re not there yet, space flights to Mars have been seemingly completed on paper.
But is it really the best option within our solar system? If you scan through the papers released by true researchers from Scientific American or Space.com Mars suddenly loses its appeal and even the Moon seems to become a bad idea to live on.
Instead we should be looking for something that’s better suited for our body and most importantly, our DNA. We tend to forget what a marvelous job our atmosphere does in protecting us from the sun and adverse effects that otherwise would tear through our body fraying our DNA beyond repair. Scientific America even speaks of “brain damage” as a result of exposure to galactic cosmic rays.
To put colonization and importance of protection by an atmosphere in perspective you just need to realize that humans literally need to dig deep on Mars. Sure, Mars does have an atmosphere, but it’s neither robust nor persistent enough and any colonist should be living some 2,7 meters (approx. 8,9 feet) beneath the surface to stay safe.
If you think a lunar colony would fare better in its relatively close proximity to Earth, you’d be surprised to read the exact opposite. Given its atmosphere is almost non-existent, an underground facility would be in dire need. The settlement on moon should be even deeper than on Mars with about 4 meters or 13 feet.
But there’s a silver lining out there and it is called Titan. Beside its cooler name and the prospect of looking at Saturn’s rings, Titan features an atmosphere fifty percent thicker than ours.
SA objectively concludes that:
It’s cold on Titan, at -180°C (-291°F), but thanks to its thick atmosphere, residents wouldn’t need pressure suits—just warm clothing and respirators. Housing could be made of plastic produced from the unlimited resources harvested on the surface, and could consist of domes inflated by warm oxygen and nitrogen. The ease of construction would allow huge indoor spaces.
So, is it all fly me to the moon again, but with a twist? Nah, Titan is not exactly the runaway winner of the next space race because on the downside you have to consider the seriously prolonged approach to the Saturn. On the other hand, it’s a pretty fierce competitor for the best option to colonize our solar system and shouldn’t be overlooked anymore.