History - and renders Titan's surface features obscure. The...

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History The presence of a significant atmosphere was first suspected by Spanish astronomer Josep Comas Solà , who observed distinct limb darkening on Titan in 1903, [1] and confirmed by Gerard P. Kuiper in 1944 using a spectroscopic technique that yielded an estimate of an atmospheric partial pressure of methane of the order of 100 millibars (10 kPa). [2] In 1981, Voyager 1 made the first detailed observations of Titan's atmosphere, revealing that its surface pressure was in fact thicker than Earth's, at 1.5 bars. [3] The high surface pressure found on Titan meant that methane could only form a small fraction of Titan's atmosphere. [4] Extent Observations from the Voyager space probes have shown that the Titanian atmosphere is denser than Earth 's, with a surface pressure about 1.45 times that of Earth's. Titan's atmosphere is about 1.19 times as massive as Earth's overall, [5] or about 7.3 times more massive on a per surface area basis. It supports opaque haze layers that block most visible light from the Sun and other sources
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Unformatted text preview: and renders Titan's surface features obscure. The atmosphere is so thick and the gravity so low that humans could fly through it by flapping "wings" attached to their arms. [6] Titan's lower gravity means that its atmosphere is far more extended than Earth's; even at a distance of 975 km, the Cassini spacecraft had to make adjustments to maintain a stable orbit against atmospheric drag. [7] The atmosphere of Titan is opaque at many wavelengths and a complete reflectance spectrum of the surface is impossible to acquire from the outside. [8] It was not until the arrival of the CassiniHuygens mission in 2004 that the first direct images of Titan's surface were obtained. The Huygens probe was unable to detect the direction of the Sun during its descent, and although it was able to take images from the surface, the Huygens team likened the process to "taking pictures of an asphalt parking lot at dusk...
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