Titan is the second-largest moon in the solar system, and the only one known to possess a thick atmosphere. Since it was first studied in detail by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1980, astronomers have wondered how the atmosphere of the largest moon of Saturn developed. Now, researchers have developed a theory that comets, which are rich in organic materials, may have deposited vast quantities of carbon-based chemicals just beneath the surface of Titan, where they were baked, releasing the nitrogen and methane seen in the atmosphere of Titan today.Read More Is Titan Baking its Own Atmosphere? Origin of Mysterious Gases Revealed
The Voyager 2 spacecraft reached the heliopause at the edge of the solar system on December 5th. As it passed this border where particles and magnetic fields from the Sun give way to material existing between the stars, the spacecraft became the second object made by humans to enter interstellar space. Voyager 1, its twin robotic explorer, reached the heliopause in 2012. Both craft were launched in 1977. Voyager 2 still has a long way to go before it reaches the edge of the solar system, which it is expected to exit in around 30,000 years.Read More Voyager 2 Heads Out of the Solar System – What’s Next for this Intrepid Robotic Explorer?