Welcome to Living Titanweb site

by Craig Carmichael, independent researcher

Copyright 2005 Craig Carmichael
Rev. Jan 2023 (addenda, some corrections - by
no means a full or comprehensive update)
[Titan Globe Image]


1. Introduction to Titan[below]
* Introduction
* Titan facts table
* Bibliography/Links
* Foreword: About Living Titan website
* Addenda: Further Notes October 2019

2. Interpreting Huygens Image Data
* artifacts, blobs, etc, versus real image data
* What's in the view in Huygens image scenes?
* Notes on Image Colorizations

3. Titan Geography
* How the Tides Shape Titan's Overall Geography

4. The Seas on Titan
* are methane
* why ON TITAN liquid methane is highly transparent instead of dark  (Huygens MRI & HRI even looked into the sea and saw what's there!)
* waves & 'cat scratches'
* theoretical tidal forces on Titan
* atmospheric tides
* no major oceans, but shallow methane seas almost ring the equator
    * tidal forces and tidal flows dictate the equatorial geography of the seas and the channels that connect them
* Will Cassini view any one sea at 0º, 90º, 180º or 270º longitude with hi-rez close-ups for comparison of sea levels at apoapsis and periapsis as independent evidence of tides and seas?
    * a probable clockwise tidal circulation pattern between the North and South Saturn-facing seas ("The H"), creating two "deltas"

Huygens's landing Site

* Explores how all the instrument readings support (or don't contradict) the visually evident landing in a few cm or inches of very clear liquid methane at a mud or silt bar, and how many of the Huygens images show clearly that the sea they view could only be liquid.
* Time lapse and still images of tide pools and other water scenes in color and-or monochrome, regular and contrast expanded, showing the similarities between Huygens images and images of water on Earth.
* Mosaics showing Huygens' point of landing
* The correlation of features from HRI high altitude and SLI low altitude images.

5. Life on Titan
* Huygens instrumental data supporting the presence of the life evident in the visual images
* Huygens Images: giant aquatic plants
* Huygens Images: aquatic animal life or "shapes in the clouds"?
* Huygens Images: giant vines growing from the sea and spreading over the land (The so-called "runway", so-called "rivers", and other vines, bright "islands" near shore are floating leaves, roots or stems.)
* Cassini images: aquatic plants dotting the sea and giant vines growing from the seas onto land
* Cassini VIMS: false color image seeming to show the Saturn-facing seas (the "H") seemingly clogged with matts of aquatic plants (So that's why the seas don't reflect light very well!)
* Speculation about Titanian life
1. Introduction to Titan
Since its discovery by Christiaan Huygens in 1655, Titan has been a world mysterious to us. Not only its distance but its perpetual cloud layer has hidden its surface from both earthly eyes and space probe cameras. Now the Cassini mission to Saturn and the Huygens Titan lander have dimly lifted the veil and shown Titan to be a more interesting and exciting Planet than anybody imagined!

In some ways, Titan is remarkably Earthlike, and in others, very strange to us. Owing to the methane vapor in the atmosphere, which absorbs many light wavelengths visible to human eyes, on Titan we would see sunlight and shadows dimly, and we'd miss the stars at night, and perhaps even beautiful Saturn which Titan orbits. Eyes of Titanian creatures, however, would evolve to see in the wavelengths methane is transparent to, and would be able to see these sights. Titan has both land and sea areas as does the Earth. The land areas have mountains, hills and lakes. The sea areas are sculpted by the stong tides, and have sand and mud bars, tidal flats and shoals, as well as deeper areas where huge waves crawl lazily along, stirred by gentle tidal winds and superrotational breezes in the low gravity. Where Huygens landed, it was raining a drizzely rain of liquid methane, but it is not known yet whether it rains everywhere or just some places, or whether it rains all the time or just once in a while. Occasional rain clouds form and then vanish in the antarctic, where it has been summer for several Earth years as I write.

(It seems obvious from Cassini and Huygens images and other observations that) Titan is covered with verdant vegetation. Forests with plants and trees of sizes exceeding anything ever seen on Earth poke their way upward in the low gravity and calm weather. The forests extend from the tropics into the high arctic and the vegetation changes in character with the latitude. The seas and lakes are filled with aquatic vegatation much in the nature of gigantic swamps. Gigantic vines with sessile leaves crawl for kilometers across the mud bars and over the sea. With the cold temperature, the low gravity, and the long seasons, all of this vegetation probably lives very much in slow motion compared to life on Earth. The individual forest plants may perhaps be but little changed since Columbus ventured to the Americas on Earth.

The only possible signs of animal life so far are dubious at best. However, most of the views were too distant to identify animals unless they were colossal - "Titanic".

Earth has two poles: North and South. Titan has four: North, South, Saturn and Anti-Saturn. Along the equator, tidal flows rush back and forth between the Saturn -- anti-Saturn seas and the mid-longitude seas at right angles to Saturn over the course of each Titanian day, 16 Earth days long. The time of day of the tide changes slowly over the course of the year, 30 Earth years long. Titan's 'water' is liquid methane (CH4): at Titan's 94 degree Kelvin temperatures, Earth's water (H2O ice) is just another kind of rock.

The atmosphere is just a little thicker than the Earth's (Huygens measured 1460 millibars) and composed mainly of the same gas, nitrogen. It is the only other world in the solar system with an air pressure even remotely similar to Earth's. Oxygen, however, is absent, and water vapour is replaced by methane vapour.

Titan's gravity is only about 1/7 of the Earth's. This is even less than our moon's gravity (1/6) even though Titan is over three times the size of our moon, because Titan's core contains many lighter materials such as ice, and so it is less dense. The horizon would seem strangely close to us owing to Titan's smaller size. Although Titan is just 1/15th of Earth's size by volume, it has 1/6 of its surface area.

While there is a lot more of Titan unexplored than explored, it would appear that much of tropical Titan could be likened to a vast swampy wetlands, where the question about the almost flat surface is not always "liquid or land?" but "how soggy?"

[Titan-Cassini Image]

Titan Revealed!, at a methane-transparent wavelength (939 nm)
Center is 15º south and 156º west; Huygens landed at 10º S, 192º W.
The dark area is the Saturn antipodal sea -- Saturn is never seen on Titan from this hemisphere, while from the other, it always sits at one point in the sky, lighting the nights. There appear to be shallows to the East of the islands, possibly silt in the lee of tidal flows. The bright "sinewy" region to the East of it has been dubbed "Xanadu". Clouds are seen near the South pole, which were gone on the next fly-by, probably having rained in the polar region. Some of the darker features here and there are lakes, and what seem to be mountains have been seen in the southern mid latitudes.

[Panorama Image]

[scroll  to see full image =>]
A tropical methane sea as seen by the descending Huygens lander. What looked like an island with rivers from high altitude looks more and more like a flat mudbar, awash in the sea and covered with huge plants, as Huygens nears its landing on another, very small, mudbar. The dark "rivers" are seen as being shadows and reflections of the leaves and stems. Aquatic vegetation appears in and floats on the deeper area in front of the mudbar. The transparency of the methane and the similar chemistry of air and sea may explain Titan's prolific aquatic vegetation, which appears in Cassini images to blanket almost the whole of the seas, like duckweed, bullrushes, water lillies and so on on an Earthly pond.

The area behind the mudbar  is probably a very immense, flat beach, just submerged, with big waves slowly rolling in over it. However, I've never been entirely certain these are waves and not gigantic floating plant stems -- I colored some as such. These are also seen by Cassini's radar and labelled "sand dunes", but they are not seen in the visual images.
It seems it was raining at the time of the landing, with drops of methane almost 1/2 inch across lazily drizzling down from the gold-orange sky and making the view hazy. In nearly all the images, considerable contrast enhancement has been employed to attempt to discern detail in what was dimly seen through the rain or drifting about submerged in the clear sea.


Titan Major Facts Table


Size 5156 Km Diameter; somewhat larger than Mercury; almost half the size of Mars; 1/15 the size of Earth (by volume). The total surface area is 16% of Earth's, or 3/5 of our Land area, or 83 million square Km.
Density 1.8 - about twice that of water. (Earth, the densest planet, is about 5.5.)
Atmosphere 1460 mBars or 21 PSI as measured by Huygens at sea level, 4.5 times as dense as Earth's air. (from Boyle's law of boyling: gas density=pressure/temperature, =1.46 bars / (93K/295K). ) Extends over 1000 Km into space. (Cassini dares not fly much closer!) ~95% Nitrogen, 4% Methane vapor; 1% Hydrogen.
Seas Liquid Methane (CH4). Strong tidal flows on a once-per-Titan-day cycle. (See The Seas on Titan)
Daytime Surface Temperature 93.65 +/- .25 degrees Kelvin, or -187 degrees Celsius as measured by Huygens at the surface. This is 1/3 the thermal energy of Earth.
Distance from Saturn
1.2 Gm  (Giga-meters), slightly elliptical causing tides; Earth's moon is .4 Gm from Earth
Length of day 16 Earth days; Titan orbits gas-giant Saturn once in that time, and keeps the same face always towards Saturn.
Distance from Sun 1400 Gm (Giga-meters); Earth is 150 Gm
Year 30 Earth Years; Titan is 9.5 times as far from the sun as Earth
Inclination of Equator to the Sun (Seasons) 26-3/4 degrees (same as Saturn's rings); Earth 23-1/2 degrees

"Bibliography": Links to other sources of Titan information, or copies of those sources:

"Official" sites associated with Cassini & Huygens Missions

* General Link to Cassini-Huygens mission at JPL/NASA: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov
* General Link to  Cassini-Huygens at ESA: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Cassini-Huygens
* Cassini Solid State Imaging (SSI) Laboratory site: http://www.ciclops.org

Links to Lunar and Planetary Laboratories sites
* Huygens Descent Imager & Radial Spectrometer site: http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~kholso
* Cassini Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer site: http://wwwvims.lpl.arizona.edu

Selected independent Titan exploration sites

* This page has links to many Titan images and information: http://anthony.liekens.net/huygens_static.html
* Some other people's considered thoughts on Titan: http://www.titanexploration.com/
* Here's a site concentrating on Titan chemistry: http://www.markelowitz.com/titan.htm
* René Pascal, Some fine Mosaics made from the Huygens images: http://www.beugungsbild.de/huygens/huygens.html

Selected email and web groups which discuss Titan

* Jupiter List; "Discuss the outer solar system". Not necessarily a good place to air new or unconventional ideas, but a good source of quasi-official news releases form NASA, JPL, etc: jupiter_list@yahoogroups.com (around 300 subscribers)
* Cassini Huygens list. A more open discussion list about the Saturn system and especially the Cassini-Huygens mission to it. Be prepared to receive lovely (but sometimes large file size) pictures of Saturn's moons and rings, etc, as well as text, and for limited discussion of other space topics: cassinihuygens@yahoogroups.com (around 200 subscribers)
* Unmanned Spaceflight Web Discussion Group. http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com


My Titan studies started in March (2005) with disbelief of the astonishing idea that Huygens saw no liquid methane, when it is ubiquitous in the images and also was apparently detected by the downward looking spectrometers from 21 meters altitude and by the GCMS instrument when Huygens's landed "with a splat". The Huygens images now appear to have been cast aside with little attention ever having been paid to their fascinating content. "They're full of JPEG artifacts." "Viewing conditions were poor."

It is tedious to discern the features of a scene and easy to read things that aren't really there into low-resolution monochrome images, degraded by methane dewdrops or frost on the lenses and with the lossy image compression. However, the Huygens images and data, collected at great expense and effort from on Titan itself, are of adequate quality to reliably show Most Interesting Real scenes. Finer points of detail are often ambiguous for the very reason of what they show: a changing seascape with waving features in or on very shallow liquid. Many features are seen several times as Huygens descends, providing independent checks of each other to illuminate truth and separate it from illusions of light and shadow. Applicable Cassini images also very much correspond with Huygens images and support the model presented. In fact, no instrument readings or images I've been able to find actually contradict the views herein expressed: even with observations that appear to contradict each other such as the Earth-based 2003 radar versus the 2005 IR checks for reflections from liquid, this scenario appears to explain why they might.

This site to a great extent consists of Huygens's images with my commentary. There is nothing else to bring to the table but distant images. Huygens info Must be examined analytically with an open mind, not a mind that has already concluded certain things that "must be" and is therefore unable to comprehend what it is looking at. Colorizing (with retention of the original brightness levels) is my attempt to make immediately clear features that often took me considerable time to discern and fathom, not to embellish or - worse - create them. While I certainly make no claim that every brush stroke and idea presented is correct or perfect, I firmly believe I've painted an essentially true and comprehensive picture of the astonishing Real Titan.

Note January 21, 2006. With the low resolution monchrome images evidently making visual recognition difficult to many, and looking into Huygens's various Surface Science Package (SSP) and other sensors further, the various data might seem to override the Gas Chromatograph and Mass Spectrometer (GCMS) finding of "...liquid methane on the surface". Without recognition that plant life could extend some sort of dry olive branch to a probe landing in the sea, I can better understand how a general belief that "Titan is dry" formed, though I don't share it. It seems to be a catch-22: one can't believe in aquatic plants without a sea, and one can't believe in the liquid sea without first recognizing that it's choked with gigantic aquatic plants that drastically change its appearance from what would otherwise be expected.

One of my illusions appears to be vanquished: on discovering the actual direction of shadows for the images in question, "giant sea creatures" I thought I saw would appear to be simply light and shadow playing tricks with seaweed. If there are sea animals on Titan, they were too small, too distant, or too strange to be recognized -- at least by me -- in the Huygens images. And that was to be expected for anything smaller than whales, except in the after landing images. Searching for animal life both undersea and above would surely be a worthy science goal for the next Titan explorer, and any balloon should have a "glass bottom boat" for a bottom. With color (methane bands) cameras, of course. We should also temper our hopes by remembering what a monumental achievement landing a craft on Titan was, and that about 1/2 of all Mars landers have failed.

But overall, Titan seems to be even more astonishing than I dreamed when I originally wrote the foreword: What seemed to be land now appears to be mud or silt flats barely level with the sea, there appear to be waves a mile wide seen by Cassini's radar rippling through vast beds of seaweed, and Huygens itself appears to have landed on a small mud or silt bar. Spectrographic data from the surface supports the visual scenes of life by finding complex organic compounds with unknown constituents, different from anywhere else in the solar system, and aerosols that are the end products of a complex organic chemistry.

Perhaps the words of an earlier space explorer, while somewhat dated by developments in robotic space travel and subsequent explorations, are worth quoting here:

   "What would the explorers bring home from Mars? No one can say--just as no one can say what explorers eventually may find on the moons of Jupiter, or on Pluto.
   "Such uncertainty inevitably attends the conquest of new horizons; explorers since the beginning of time have been unable to envision the full impact of their achievements.
   "Often, like Columbus, they made confident assessments which time proved wrong. It usually remained for those who followed to find the real significance of the explorer's effort, and to reap benefits far greater than were anticipated. There is little doubt in my mind that the benefits of space travel will emerge in the same way."

Dr. Thomas O. Paine,
Administrator, NASA,
(National Geographic Journal, December 1969 - Apollo 11 Moon landing coverage issue.)

Please send Titan questions, ideas or info, or ideas for site improvements, to:
at post
dot com.

Copyright 2005 Craig Carmichael

August 8th, 2005
Rev Aug 16, 2005
Rev Aug 26 (foreword)
Rev Sept 9 2005 (Index: feature descriptions added)
Rev Nov 12 2005 (Links update)
Rev Jan 21 2006 (update note to foreword)
Rev July 08 2006 (Link to "unmanned spacelflight" web discussion group; updates to chapter highlights; rotten HTML cleanup which may have effected some things.)
Rev Jan 23 2007 A few additions to Introduction to Titan; Colorized Huygens scene.

Addenda - Further Notes 2019/10/31

I wasn't going to change this 'book' in spite of noting many smaller errors and omissions which were later changed either by further observation or by new information found and made public as the mission progressed. The overall thrust is unchanged, but there are a number of things which are begging to be noted. Some of them I have already noted over the years in my "Space Update Notes". Here I would add these notes.

1. Atmospheric hydrogen. Before the mission it was estimated that 4% of Titan's atmosphere was hydrogen gas. But when the "main" results of the Huygens landing and the early part of the mission were published in Nature in December 2005, there was no mention of hydrogen in the atmospheric composition determination. I was very disappointed, as it was the obvious reactive breathing gas for Titan life. I faithfully made no mention of it in this book. But later 1% atmospheric hydrogen gas was mentioned in speculation about "possible" life on Titan. (Open your eyes! Life is everywhere on Titan!) On inquiring about that, I learned that hydrogen was in some way used as a reference in making the determination of other gases in the atmosphere and so hydrogen itself couldn't be properly measured in the data collection. This was not a minor point and I am sorry it was left unexplained without comment in the scientific publication. But it is certainly not the only place where misleading amateurish mistakes and omissions were made by professional space scientists.

Hydrogen is obviously, and according to scientists' speculations about "the possibility of" life, the breathing gas on Titan. Earth's oxygen/carbon dioxide cycle wouldn't work on Titan because CO2 would freeze out of the atmosphere. (even if for no other reason.)

2. Dunes and "giant waves on the sea": At the original time of writing, the tropical dunes hadn't been discovered by Cassini SAR radar. When they were I immediately suspected they were submerged at the bottom of the seas and created by the powerful tides. But just at that time it was generally believed (ridiculous!) that Titan might be "as dry as a bone" and so the dunes had to be in the air. (This, notwithstanding the visual evidence and the T14 radio occultation experiment showing liquid hydrocarbon surfaces in the tropics. And that was by no means the only critical data to simply be ignored by space scientists when it didn't fit what they presently believed.)

However, as methane was non-polar versus polar water on Earth I asked Ralph Lorenz by e-mail about the SAR radar penetration of liquid methane. He gave me a slightly vague and condescending answer about "reflections from the first surface" and "work out the equations for yourself", but that certainly sounded as if the SAR wouldn't see into the liquid. This caused me much confusion as, recognizing the methane sea that had declared "dry land" by others, I then thought that the dunes could only be huge waves on the sea surface. (Huge waves were predicted for low gravity. This seemed a bit much, but what else could they be?) Finally a year or so later he and others had published conflicting info. I e-mailed again (without reminding him of the previous e-mail), and this time he told me what I had originally supposed: that unlike water, "Oh no, Cassini can see hundreds of meters into liquid methane." It was the exact opposite of his previous answer. This placed the dune features seen where I had originally thought, at the bottom of the seas.

3. Furthermore, these "tidal marsh" seas are so shallow that the dune crests come up to the surface. The plant life growing in this shallow liquid indicated that what were taken to be "islands" in the descent images are actually the shallow tops of the dunes, with plant life sticking up out of the water. (causing the scientists more confusion about the starkly contrasting "bright" and "dark" materials of the dunes, since they were blind to both the liquid and the life.) In many of the Huygens images, the vertical aspects of stems and leaves both in and above the liquid are quite visible once the nature of the scenes is recognized. The Huygens probe landed smack on top of a dune in only a few inches (?) of liquid. Finally this explained its "creme brulee" soft landing (this was the published term) and yet that it didn't float around after landing to show us different scenes.

4. The Hugens so-called "Raw" Images: When the Huygens images were shown and posted it was claimed that they were the "raw", unprocessed images. However, this is not true. Instead the contrast of each image has been magnified by different, seemingly 'random' amounts, possibly until the brightest pixel became hex FF/white and the darkest one hit hex 00/black. While this may enhance detail in some surface images, it obscures the relationship between different images and it hides a very important fact: That the later HRI images had very little contrast. They were mainly neutral brightness, "medium gray" in the monochrome images. In the actual raw images, it seems apparent that they are looking down into liquid. The murky features under the liquid have been contrast enhanced into a grotesqueness that bears little resemblance to the original scene. PS: I don't know if the actual raw images are still available on line anywhere. They weren't at the official JPL or ESA websites but only on a couple of other websites. There are links within this 'book', but that was 2006. I've posted them here in case they aren't available elsewhere any more:

Huygens-Titan-Raw.zip (18 MB - see chapter 2 for more info about the imagers and images.)
Of course it's important for scaling to know the altitude each image was taken at: ImageAltitudes.txt  . Luckily the radar altimeter worked. The sun sensor didn't, so the rotating direction the camera was pointing has to be estimated by the content of the image.

5. Titan rotation: It was of course assumed that Titan always kept one face toward Saturn. However, the Cassini mission lasted for some years, and in later observations it was noted with surprise that features had shifted some distance counterclockwise/eastward (50 Km?).  (I may have covered this in "Space Update Notes"?) If the shift continued it worked out to about one rotation every 1000 Earth years. Why? The powerful tides would carry silt and debris around the Equatorial seas, eventually taking it from one end all the way around 270° to the other end. The tides in one direction (approaching Saturn) are doubtless more vigorous and faster than those in the other (moving farther from Saturn), and so the flow of materials is more in one direction than the other, ever shifting the equatorial geography. In addition visually, the first Cassini images (2nd image from top on this page) show silt collecting/settling in the 'lee' of 'islands' in the sea. These islands (or dune fields) thus probably 'drift' eastward over time. Also it seemed to me that I checked and found that tropical sea shorelines had in fact changed between early and later images. The shifting materials would cause a gradual shift in Titan's center of gravity, and hence cause it to gradually rotate for its greatest mass to remain pointed along the Saturn/anti-Saturn axis. However, I didn't see the shift of features mentioned again in later publications. There was speculation that they might shift back. I never found out. My theory says they will ever continue moving along, but OTOH it could perhaps be some larger-time-scale form of "libration".

6. Speculation about an underground liquid mantle or underground 'sea': The circumstantial evidence for these speculations is better explained by the plainly visible "relatively pure liquid methane" (according to the Huygens GCMS team) seas on the surface that many space scientists don't believe in. I haven't seen any real evidence for an underground sea published. If there is one it is probably pretty deep, more a liquid mantle than a sea.

Note: It was later said that the GCMS started seeing less methane near the end of the transmissions and so it couldn't have been reading from liquid because the intake would have been constant. However the visibly dimming light of the Huygens spotlight toward the end of the after landing image sequence-animation clearly shows that the battery was weakening (Huygens wasn't expected to last as long as it did), which would have reduced the ability of the GCMS to gassify the liquid. The weakening light and battery seems to correspond quite well with the reduction in liquid methane being sensed. The readings thus do after all indicate that Huygens was sitting in shallow liquid methane.

7. Lost Huygens Images: Owing to a software error, images from Huygens' main data channel A were never received by the Cassini. There were fortunately two channels, and Cassini was listening to backup channel B, so half the images and data were received.

The team claimed there were no lost images in the channel B data, but this is quite obviously not true. First, Huygens had a 10 bit image count timer starting with zero when the camera was turned on, and each successive image (one set of three each ten seconds) had a higher number.  That's good up to 1023. At 1024 the counter overflows back to zero. The image files were named depending on the counter reading. Thus, there was "triplet.2.jpg", but image 1026 would also have come through as "2", so its images were also named "triplet.2.jpg". Obviously there was no guard against duplicate file names, and the second "triplet.2.jpg" simply overwrote the first. That this is what happened is plain, because image triplets 000, to 008 (eg), instead of being from the highest altitude, all show after landing scenes from the ground.

But it gets worse. The image files were also named with maximum three digits when received. So even though the highest numbered images were sent as 1000 to 1023 before Huygens' timer rolled over, they were renamed "triplet.000.jpg" to "triplet.023.jpg" - they overflowed at the receiving end first. Since data channel A was lost, not all of the names were taken. There were gaps of 20 or 30 seconds between images instead of ten seconds, and some numbers were skipped. Thus there is for example no "triplet.001.jpg".

Thus not all images from high in the atmosphere were overwritten. Images numbered 0 to 23 were overwritten twice, and numbers above that until Cassini lost contact with Huygens were overwritten once. Images called 0 to 8 are all of the after landing scene, and 9 is the first one from high up that wasn't overwritten. Above 23, more of the high altitude images were preserved.

I am not at all sure, given the confident denials that any channel B images were lost, that the team understood what had happened. Unless a recording of the original Cassini transmission to Earth was saved somewhere, the images are irretrievably lost - overwritten shortly after they were received. From 0 up to at least image #190 there are scenes from after the landing, some of which would have overwritten the high altitude images of the same number.

In some image triplets (eg #30) one imager shows the after landing scene and another shows the high altitude view. I'm not 100% sure how these were put together, but obviously data from all three imagers wasn't sent in unison. It may be that the triplets were put together afterward, perhaps by some preprogrammed automatic method?

Luckily as far as can be seen from the high altitude images that weren't overwritten, there wasn't much to see in them except haze. However the presence of images with low numbers showing the after landing scene has been an obvious source of confusion. It was never explained by the team. It may be the reason Huygens' visibly dimming spotlight indicating the low battery wasn't connected with the decreasing flow of vaporized methane to the GCMS instrument.

8. Examining and making sense of the images, which are really "the meat in the sandwich" that puts the rest of the data into context, was clearly not the team's strong point. In fact, early on I e-mailed to team members with some of my own observations of this exciting and perplexing landscape/seascape. Invariably the answer for anything seen was "Well, the viewing conditions were poor, and the images are full of jpeg artifacts." While making allowances for that, the images were also real and showed the real surface of Titan in the vicinity of the landing. They obviously spent little time or effort trying to make sense of them. They were soon excited by 'geysers' of water on the "overgrown comet", Enceladus, and left the images behind without having figured them out.

"You can say you see pink aliens, or liquid, or cities of gold in the images." - Ralph Lorenz, JPL

I spent months looking at the Huygens images, and while puzzles remain, partly owing to that poor quality and low resolution, partly because they were monochrome and partly because it's an alien world with unfamiliar alien things on it, gradually I went from vague and often erroneous ideas to having what I feel is a pretty clear understandings of much of what I was looking at.

No doubt there are a few more points, but the above are what I've thought of offhand that have irked me for many years.

Acknowledgments [2023/01/27]:

The Urantia Book, Paper 49, The Inhabited Worlds opened my mind to the possibilities for life on other worlds, especially a section that said our world was in temperature zone 3 of 5 and that life evolution could be initiated on worlds both "much hotter" and "much colder" than ours. Without that I would probably have been just as unobservant and only superficially interested as anyone. I had no expectation that there would be life on Titan, but I recognized it as a theoretical possibility and was keenly interested to look when the images started appearing.

I wish also to thank the space scientists who I crossed emails with, and especially Dr. Ralph Lorenz at JPL, who, however much he disagreed with me and thought I was out to lunch, always took the trouble to answer my several emails of 2005 and 2006.

And of course all those who planned and executed all the multifarious aspects of the Cassini/Huygens mission, and who published or posted so much of the data and images, without which we would still know almost nothing about this fascinating world.