According to a report published today by Nature Astronomy, Titan, one of Saturn’s planets, travels away from the planet a hundred times faster than previously assumed, around 11 centimeters per year compared to 0.1 centimeters previously estimated. Titanium is heavier than the planet Mercury, it is enveloped in a dense atmosphere (it is the only moon in the Solar System that has one), it is surrounded by rivers and seas of liquid hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane, under which there is a thick layer of water ice and below it there could be an ocean of liquid water that could possibly contain life.
Experts have discovered after decades of measurements and calculations that Titan ‘s orbit around Saturn is expanding, that is, it is moving further and further away from the earth at a pace one hundred times faster than expected. Research suggests that Titan was born much closer to Saturn than estimated, and that it migrated at its current distance of 1.2 million km more than 4.5 billion years ago. This implies, according to one of the authors of the study Jim Fuller of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) that Saturn’s moon system and potentially its rings formed and evolved in a more dynamic way than previously thought.
We should watch the Moon and grasp the nature of orbital movement, which exerts a strong gravitational force on Earth as it orbits, and this is what induces the tides. Friction processes within Earth turn some of this energy into heat, distorting the gravitational field of Earth so that it pushes the Moon forward in its orbit, explains Caltech in a statement. This causes the Moon to gain energy and gradually move away from Earth, at a rate of about 3.8 centimeters per year, so our planet won’t “lose” its satellite until both are engulfed by the Sun, within about 6,000 million years.