Titan is Saturn’s largest moon — and the only one in our solar system with an atmosphere — and it also happens to be the only planetary body in addition to Earth with liquid rivers, lakes and seas on its surface. Scientists are fascinated by it, and in 2026 NASA plans to send a spacecraft there, called Dragonfly, that will be able to fly through the planet’s thick atmosphere.

In the meantime, researchers have been using data from Cassini to better understand the mammoth moon’s makeup and history. For example, instruments on the spacecraft measured the ratio of nitrogen isotopes in Titan’s atmosphere — and found it most closely matches that of comets from the Oort Cloud, a vast collection of hundreds of billions of icy bodies that orbit the Sun at distant distances.

That finding suggests that, like comets, Titan may have formed much closer to Saturn than where it’s now positioned and then migrated outward over time, a process known as resonance locking. The new study, published in Nature Astronomy, shows that a different method of measuring Titan’s orbit confirms this theory. Two teams of scientists — one working with astrometry, a technique in which astronomers precisely measure the positions of stars and other celestial objects; the other using radiometry, a set of techniques that measures electromagnetic radiation including visible light — independently calculated Titan’s velocity over 10 years.

The results from both teams were in complete agreement. They suggest that Titan is straying titan moving from Saturn 100 times faster than was previously thought.

That’s because the planet’s spin essentially sweeps Titan into a slightly different orbit every year. And as the moon moves further away from Saturn, it tugs on the planet’s rings, which in turn cause the planet to oscillate — and those vibrations transmit energy that accelerates the moon’s outward migration even more.

Titan also has few visible impact craters, which means it’s likely young and the effects of flowing liquid (water in Earth’s case) and plate tectonics have erased evidence of collisions over time.

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