Forget Mars: Humans may live here one day

Move over, Mars: Titan could be the best place for a human colony. As far as extraterrestrial bodies go, Saturn's largest moon is surprisingly like Earth, with a dense atmosphere that could shield delicate earthlings from radiation, reports New Scientist.

Titan's candidacy as a settlement isn't new, but a fresh analysis shows the yellow moon has valuable energy sources that could power a settlement.

Per Science Alert, Amanda Hendrix and Yuk Yung write that once propulsion issues of getting there are tackled, Titan is the "optimal location in the solar system for an off-Earth human settlement." Some 808 million miles away, self-sustainability on Titan is key.

Robots and even humans could one day make nuclear power by using radioactive decay there. The scientists say solar power could come from a US-sized solar farm, even though Titan is nearly 10 times farther from the sun than Earth is.

Titan's strong winds could also be put to use, if humans learn to build strong-enough turbines. Powerful tides created by Saturn's pull could be harnessed for hydropower, though little rain adds complications.

Titan could even be a crash pad on the road to more-distant exploration; ample methane-laced lakes may be mined for rocket fuel. "As a resource for long-term, solar-system-wide civilization, Titan would be a pivotal place," a Johns Hopkins University researcher tells New Scientist.

Researchers concede, however, that there are many unknowns, including Titan's geology. And, they say, Earth's own technology will have to improve before it can be exported.

(Mars is more toxic than previously thought.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Forget Mars: Humans May Live Here One Day