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View Full Version : What kind of suit would you need to survive on Titan? Would an old moon suit work?


astro
01-21-2005, 12:29 AM
Just curious. It seems pretty nasty. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4177401.stm)


Titan probe sits in alien mud (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6839100/)

Although the moon has water ice, scientists do not believe the liquid flowing through the channels seen by Huygens is water, since temperatures there hover around 292 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-180 degrees Celsius). Rather, Titan is thought to have lakes, rivers and perhaps even seas of liquid methane and ethane.

Mangetout
01-21-2005, 03:21 AM
How long do you want to survive for?

Earthworm Jim
01-21-2005, 08:28 AM
An old moon-suit needed to maintain pressure as much as temperature. You wouldn't need that on Titan, where atmospheric pressure is very similar to Earths. You would need something to keep you warm & provide air.

I don't know if the moon-suit could keep you insulated well enough - I imagine the -292 degree atmosphere might be too much for it, but I don't know...

Mangetout
01-21-2005, 08:32 AM
Actually, I think what might also be a problem is the issue of materials failure; in the vacuum of space, the suit wouldn't cool down too much, however, in an extremely cold atmosphere, a lot of heat would be lost by conduction etc - it may be that this would cause joints to seize, seals to shrink/break and flexible materials to become brittle.

Fear Itself
01-21-2005, 08:32 AM
And liquid methane may play havoc with some of the materials the suit is made of, you don't want your suit dissolving when you step in a puddle.

Fuji Kitakyusho
01-21-2005, 08:51 AM
You would need a completely redesigned suit to accommodate the Titanian environment. The extremely low ambient temperature would need to be compensated for not only by heating, but also by choosing materials (body and seals, o-rings, etc.) suitable for operation in cryogenic temperatures. This is certainly possible, but would definitely require an engineering effort from the ground up. Most flexible textiles (as are used in current space suits) would become much stiffer in such temperatures. A better approach might be a hardsuit, such as the JIM or Newtsuit style of atmospheric diving suits. A couple of hardsuit prototypes for spacefarer use were actually made, but as yet, were never produced since the standard soft suit meets all current requirements. A lot of thought would have to go into mitigating heat transfer (in an atmosphere, conductive and convective heat loss become more dominant than radiant heat loss - something which we have not, as yet, planned to deal with when designing space suits.

Mangetout
01-21-2005, 11:09 AM
Also... if the outside of the suit was kept warm, comparative to the local environment (which it would pretty much have to be, due to reasons above), anything you stepped on would begin boiling violently, which could present problems.

BMalion
01-21-2005, 11:20 AM
and flamethrowers in the arms, it's got to have flamethrowers.

nail guns in the shoulders, too.

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