Ever since Galileo first trained his telescope on Saturn and discovered its rings in 1610, this planet has long been one of the most intriguing in solar system. In 1655, Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens first spied Saturn’s largest moon and named it Saturni Luna or Saturn’s moon. Between 1673 and 1686, Giovanni Domenico Cassini discovered four more moons orbiting the ringed giant.
As more of Saturn moons were discovered, the largest moon discovered by Huygens was officially labeled Saturn VI as that was its position of orbit around the planet. In 1847, John Herschel, son of famous astronomer William Herschel, suggested that the moons of Saturn be given the names from Greek mythology. The two moons discovered by his father were dubbed Mimas and Enceladus. The largest moon he called Titan.
With the help of modern day telescopes and satellite flyby missions including the Cassini probe, there are around sixty moons or objects around Saturn that are referred to as moons. Many of these moons are quite small, but none compare in size or structure to Titan.
In fact, no other moon in the solar system compares to Titan. It is second in size only to Jupiter’s moon Ganymede and is larger than the planet Mercury. What makes Titan unique is that is the only known moon to have a dense atmosphere and other than Earth is the only known celestial body known to have liquids on its surface.
However, unlike Earth, Titan’s polar lakes are not water but are made up of liquid methane and ethane. These are the result of the moon’s complex chemical environment and the intense cold of around minus 270 degrees Fahrenheit and it’s this complex chemical factory that has evolutionary scientists scratching their heads.
Titan is constantly producing hydrocarbons in the atmosphere, most of which is methane. Methane is a very simple hydrocarbon consisting of one carbon and four hydrogen atoms. When exposed to sunlight, even at the distance of Saturn from the sun, methane readily breaks down and forms more complex hydrocarbons. Consequently, it does not last long as an atmospheric gas, yet on Titan it is quite abundant. In fact, it is so abundant that in Titan’s super cold temperatures, the methane rains down as liquid and forms lakes around the polar regions.
Because methane is such a short lived atmospheric gas, scientists have been trying to figure out how old the moon is and how long it has been generating the hydrocarbon atmosphere. They used the different isotope forms of methane and created a model of the moon that tested how long it could have been manufacturing each methane isotope.
The results of their model simulations gave them a maximum age of 1.6 billion years which they claim is far short of Titan’s supposed age of just under 5 billion years. When they ran their model and allowed for some of the methane to escape Titan’s atmosphere, the time span drastically dropped to an age of only 10 million years. They’ve run a series of different scenarios and all of them yield ages substantially less than the accepted evolutionary age of the giant moon.
One thing I always try to point out in studies like this is that the computer models they use only yield results based upon the information programmed into them. If they program in factors relating to long ages, then they will get results with long ages. Therefore, the models are biased from the onset.
If they really wanted to know how old Titan is and how long it has been pumping out methane gas, all they have to do is turn to Genesis 1:14-19 which says:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
And from reading the rest of Scripture we know that Creation occurred just over 6,000 years ago. Therefore Titan can’t be any older than Creation which would help explain why it is still so chemically active and producing an abundance of methane gas and liquid.
I know that the Bible is not a science book, but when we start with it and then look at the science data we find, it helps us to properly interpret that data. In the case of Saturn’s moon Titan, it’s the only scenario that does make sense.
After reading the report on Titan, it reminded me of Psalm 8:
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beingsand crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Saturn’s Giant Moon: How Long Has Titan’s Chemical Factory Been in Business?, Science Daily, April 25, 2012.
Genesis teaches that God created the entire universe supernaturally, only thousands of years ago. Yet, most people are convinced that the universe started in a big bang billions of years in the past. In this illustrated lecture, astronomer Dr. Jason Lisle shows viewers that when the evidence of nature is understood properly, it lines up perfectly with the clear teachings of Scripture. The heavens declare the glory of God!