Saturn’s Moon Titan Owners’ Workshop Manual:
From 4.5 Billion Years Ago to the Present
Haynes Publishing, 2020, 200 pp., Hardcover. $36.95. www.quartoknows.com
Titan is a moon of Saturn, most recently explored by the Cassini/Huygens probes. Titan is of huge interest to scientists, as the conditions in its atmosphere and on its surface bear a striking similarity to those of early Earth. It is thought that there is a realistic possibility that forms of primitive life could develop — or may already have developed — on the surface or in the oceans of Titan. As a result, there are plans to send further probes to Titan in order to further explore the conditions on its surface and in its oceans. The theme of Saturn’s Moon Titan Owners’ Workshop Manual is how Titan works “as a planet,” with an emphasis on illustrating the features and processes of Titan — where the conditions and materials can be exotic — with familiar analogs from the Earth or other planets. The book includes numerous images from the field, the air, and satellites to show comparable features on Earth or other planets. The final chapter discusses Titan in practical terms as an environment for humans in the future, bringing the place “to life.” Images of geographical and geological features on Earth illustrate the parallels with Titan, and the book explores some of the innovative ideas for scientific probes — including airships, landers, a submarine, and a drone — being looked at to further explore Titan on future missions. The author was closely involved with the Cassini/Huygens project, which explored Titan during its mission to Saturn, and has also played a major role in the definition of a range of U.S. and European concepts for future missions to Titan. He is currently working on a design study adopted by NASA for a quadcopter probe named “Dragonfly,” which it is hoped will be developed to explore Titan.