The Physics
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Pressure on the Surface of Titan

search icon
Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Lectures in Astrobiology. New York: Springer, 2005: 461. "This atmosphere is nearly five times denser the Earth's, with a surface temperature of 90-100 K and a surface temperature of 1.5 bar." 150 kPa
Sotin, C. "Release of Volatiles from a possible cryovolcano from near-infrared imaging of Titan." Nature. (June 2005):786-9. "Titan is the only satellite in our Solar System with a dense atmosphere. The surface pressure is 1.5 bar and, similar to the Earth …." 150 kPa
Coustenis, Athena & Fred Taylor. Titan: The Earthlike Moon. World Scientific, 2000. "based on work by Lewis in 1971 and advocated by Hunten in 1977 … the surface temperature and pressure would be quite high (200k and 20 bars.)" 2000 kPa
"… a combination of radio occultation, infrared spectroscopic and ultraviolet observations … albeit with a lower surface temperature and pressure of about 1.5 bars and 100k respectively." 150 kPa

Titan was discovered on March 25, 1655 by a Dutch astronomer, Christiaan Huygens. The name "Titan" justifies its size: it is larger than both Mercury and Pluto.

Titan is Saturn's largest moon and is the second largest satellite in the solar system after Jupiter's moon, Ganymede. Originally, it was thought that Titan was slightly larger than Ganymede but was later discovered that Titan's atmosphere contains a haze which reaches about 300 km above the surface and is almost opaque to visual light. This haze reflects the sunlight away and therefore lowers the temperature on its surface. Titan's atmosphere consists of about 98.4 percent Nitrogen, 1.6 percent of Methane, and has trace amounts of hydrocarbons and other gases which produces its orange tint.

Titan is the only moon in our solar system to have a dense atmosphere. This atmosphere is denser than Earth's and has a surface pressure that is more than one and a half times that of our planet. However Titan only has a mass that is 0.0225 Earths. Titan's surface is half covered with frozen water and the rest is bare rock. It has a mean surface temperature of 94 K.

The exploration of Titan was conducted by Cassini-Huygens (Cassini Orbiter, Huygens Probe), which is a joint NASA/ESA/ASI unmanned space mission intended to study Saturn and its moons. It was launched on October 15, 1997 and entered orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004. The probe reached Titan on January 14, 2005, where it made an atmospheric descent to the surface and is still currently relaying information about Titan's surface.

Melanie Ng -- 2006