Titan (Moon)
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This is an astronomy page - if you were interested in Greek Mythology and wanted a titan associated with The Moon then that would be Phoebe

Basic Information

Titan is a moon of Saturn. Titan is the second-largest moon in the solar system, and the only moon in our system that has a dense atmosphere (mostly nitrogen, with clouds of methane and ethane). It's the only place outside of Earth where we have found large quantities of liquid (in this case, oceans of liquid-methane).

It's extremely cold (more than a hundred degrees below zero at the surface), and it rains methane instead of water, but it may paradoxically be one of the best places outside of Earth for mankind to colonize.

Here's what Titan has going for it:

The low temp is the major stumbling block, but that could be solved with a bit of effort, especially since cheap fuel and the resources to build the necessary habitat module are literally falling from the sky. Most likely the early stages of settlement would be mostly automated, with robot crews harvesting resources, and building huge plastic structures that would eventually be settled by colonists. Titan has a yearly weather cycle, just based on methane instead of water.

NASA plans to send the Dragonfly Mission, a space probe carrying a remote aerial drone to explore Titan. It will launch in 2027 and arrive in 2036. It takes 70 to 90 minutes for a radio transmission to travel from Earth to Titan, so sending an instruction to Dragonfly and getting a response will involve a delay of over 2 hours.


Game and Story Use

  • The electromagnetic field of Titan is sort of the best argument in its favor. As much as we'd love to settle Mars, one of the dangers there is the constant bombardment by radiation.
    • So if your setting hasn't figured out some sort of special anti-radiation tech, Titan may actually be an easier colonization goal.
    • Especially true if your rules set has really nasty radiation sickness rules.
  • The hydrocarbon oceans would be very tempting exploitation targets for your typical megacorp. It's easy to picture soulless companies setting up huge mostly-automated refineries manned by a small number of beleaguered oily tradesmen wearing blue-collars and scuba tank gasmasks.
    • You might use modern oil-rigs as some of your inspiration for imagery.
  • Those hydrocarbon seas are also potentially a huge disaster waiting to happen. Methane gas is highly flammable, so there could be Firestorm in the upper atmosphere. Maybe a fire tornado or two. It's theoretically possible a Wildfire could spreads across on entire ocean, but the extreme temperatures at the surface necessary for methane to remain liquid may slow that process down. If it does rage on a big scale, that could result in a contaminated air supply and/or smoke inhalation. Methane's not toxic, but smoke sure isn't good for the lungs.
    • The PCs may be the rescue team sent in when something goes terribly wrong on a colony, racing against the clock as the facility is in danger of burning up or running out of air.
    • Fun-fact: Methane burns with a transparent, nearly-invisible flame. So if the methane-sea caught fire, you probably wouldn't be able to tell from looking at it.
  • A colony might set up as a raft city, floating on pontoons over the hydrocarbon sea that it processes into usable products.
  • The atmospheric and gravity conditions may result in sky cities, orbital platforms, and space elevators being very practical.
    • Wingsuit flying, gliding, and ballooning may be common hobbies for the colonists.
    • In fact, flappable wings may be a possible locomotion method for humans, using some sort of design that stylistically would be at home in the notebooks Leonardo DaVinci or would fit-in to a steampunk setting.
  • It's possible really alien life could develop on Titan, using hydrocarbons as biological solvent. The water, oxygen and warmer temperatures that messy humans are likely to introduce into their environment could be harmful to such life. So if you need some sort of misunderstood monster to threaten the colony, there's the motivation. See hydrocarbons as biological solvent for details and ideas.
    • And given that the moon is named for the Titans, it would be on-theme to make your monster primordial, inscrutable, ancient and/or gigantic. Could be a full-on Eldritch Abomination if you'd like. Or some freaky oil critter with a plastic shell and a flame-jet attack.
  • Any of the above ideas about Titan could likewise be adapted to other similar places in other planetary systems. Chances are really good that Titan's not the only place with methane oceans in the entire universe.
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