Titan, the only known place in space where liquid surface lakes exist. Let's go for a swim.

What if…. you could swim in Titan’s lakes? Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is unique. It has its own atmosphere.

Not only that, it’s the only planet or moon other than Earth to have bodies of liquid on its surface. What would happen if you decided to swim here?

What would it feel like? And how far could you swim?

Titan is the second largest moon in our entire Solar System. It’s bigger than our Moon and even bigger than the planet Mercury.

Despite being so large, Titan has a weak gravitational pull. Let’s say you weigh 70 kg (154 pounds) here on Earth; on Titan you would weigh just 10 kg (22 pounds).

Unfortunately, this means you won’t be doing any epic cannonballs into Titan’s lakes. If you could find a cliff to jump off, it would take you quite a while to float down to the surface of the liquid. But when you finally reached the lake, you’d plummet to the bottom extremely fast.

The reason you’d have such a hard time keeping your head above the surface is due to the liquid methane and ethane found in Titan’s lakes. The density of liquid methane is much, much lower than water, so you wouldn’t be as buoyant.

Swimming on Earth is easy because humans aren’t as dense as water. When we’re in a swimming pool, we weigh less than the amount of water that we displace, and the force of the water pushing back on us, helps to keep us afloat.

In Titan’s lakes, your body would be much more dense than the liquid methane you’d be attempting to swim in. It would feel as if you were made of stone.

On the surface of the lake, the liquid methane would appear completely clear, but you still wouldn’t be able to see too deep due to the dark rock and thick atmosphere on the moon. In fact, Titan receives only 1% of the sunlight that we receive on Earth.

I should remind you, that you wouldn’t even get this far without wearing a special space suit. It would have to be strong enough to withstand the temperature of Titan’s surface, a frosty -178° Celsius (-289° Fahrenheit).

You’d also need it to protect you from the lack of oxygen on the moon, the deadly levels of nitrogen gas, and the gasoline-like rains. Okay, back to you being underwater or, under liquid methane. From the bottom of the lake, to get back up to the surface you’d need to swim up 200 meters.

Once you reached the surface, you’d quickly realize just how big the lake you’re in is. This is in Kraken Mare, which is 400,000 km². For reference, that’s bigger than the Caspian Sea, the largest lake on Earth. And bigger than the entire country of Japan

If you don’t like this lake you have over 50 other lakes to choose from, depending on what kind of view you’re interested in. Unfortunately, there’s no surfing on these lakes. You won’t find any waves on Titan, as it’s low gravity makes it resistant to creating them.

So, all in all, not a great day at the beach. Swimming in these lakes would be pretty tricky, and not a lot of fun. On top of that, it’s not likely you’ll be able to relax on the shore, or suntan.

Maybe it isn’t the best vacation spot. But you certainly can’t deny that beautiful view. Now, what would happen if you were a space tourist and could travel anywhere you wanted?


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