Planets and Moons  ID: 11371

Crude Matter

What do car bumpers and computer speakers have in common? Both can be created from raw materials found on Earth or on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Titan is the only moon in the solar system with a significant atmosphere. In some ways its atmosphere is similar to Earth’s, but rather than being rich in oxygen, it’s rich in hydrocarbons—chemical compounds made of the elements carbon and hydrogen. In 1980, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft flew by Titan and detected different types of hydrocarbons in its atmosphere, including methane, ethane and propane. Now, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has added one more to the list: propylene, a chemical building block used in the manufacture of plastic consumer goods. Watch the video to learn more.

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Story Credits

Ernie Wright (USRA)
Chris Meaney (HTSI)
Chris Smith (HTSI)
Dan Gallagher (USRA)
John S. Howard (NASA/JPL CalTech)

Video Editor:
Dan Gallagher (USRA)

Conor Nixon (NASA/GSFC)

Dan Gallagher (USRA)

Lead Scientist:
Conor Nixon (NASA/GSFC)

Rob Andreoli (AIMM)

Lead Writer:
Elizabeth Zubritsky (ADNET)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Titan image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University of Idaho

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