October 23, 2021

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Moon-in-a-jar recreates the hazy atmosphere of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon

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Scientists recreated the unique chemical conditions found on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, in tiny glass cylinders here on Earth, and the experiment revealed previously unknown features of the moon’s mineral makeup.

Titan is the second-largest moon in the solar system, behind Jupiter’s Ganymede, and sports a dense atmosphere of mostly nitrogen with a dash of methane, according to Space.com. This yellowish haze hovers around minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 180 degrees Celsius). Below the atmosphere, lakes, seas and rivers of liquid methane and ethane cover Titan’s icy crust, particularly near the poles. And similar to liquid water on Earth, these natural gases take part in a cycle in which they evaporate, form clouds and then rain down on the moon’s surface.

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