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Where Did Titan's Thick, Nitrogen-rich Atmosphere Come From?
There is a mystery about Titan, Saturn's largest moon, which has been puzzling astronomers for many years – where did its thick, nitrogen-rich atmosphere come from? Titan is the only moon in our Solar System to have a thick atmosphere, which is more than seven times as massive as Earth's atmosphere when adjusted for surface area. It is very hard to see its surface.
The atmosphere is made up mostly of nitrogen gas but it also includes five percent of methane, which is unusual. Typically, methane reacts in the atmosphere quickly to form organic compounds which fall to the surface of a planet or moon. But Titan's atmosphere still has methane in it, which means that either the methane is being replenished somehow, or that we are looking at the atmosphere during a unique period of high methane levels.