For sale: Remote, lakeshore lots. Buyers must be methane-breathers

Oh, and be prepared to travel to stake a claim.

Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, is the only satellite in our solar system with its own atmosphere. It may well be the only object in the solar system besides Earth with lakes, as this recent image from the Cassini space probe reveals.Titan's lakes

The dark, smooth features are lakes of liquid methane and ethane, not water, though. The weather on Titan is just a tad chilly — -178 degrees Celsius or -288 degrees F –cold  enough for the two hydrocarbon gases to liquify.

Compare that image (taken with radar to penetrate Titan’s thick cloud cover) with this view of Lake Powell in Utah taken from orbit by the Space Shuttle astronauts:

Lake Powell

We can see in the Lake Powell shot how the dark water contrasts sharply with the rough terrain, just as the methane/ethane lakes stand out from the rougher ground on Titan.

Scientists are especially curious about surface conditions on Titan, since it is believed that Titan’s atmosphere (methane rain, folks!) resembles the early atmosphere of Earth before photosynthesis “poisoned” the air with oxygen. In other words, Titan could be a large time capsule, providing clues to the conditions on the infant Earth.

And remember, before you buy any property off the internet, make sure you visit the site first, or at least talk to the natives. Good luck!

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