Spring has sprung on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, and that means rain showers. But not the kind of spring showers that bring flowers — on Titan it rains methane:
Instead of water, as on Earth, Titan’s cycles of precipitation, evaporation and cloud formation involve hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane, which at the extremes of cold on Titan pool as liquids in thousands of lakes around its north and south poles. Indeed, scientists estimate that Titan holds hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth.
Outer space may seem hostile to advanced life, but the solar system is rich in natural resources needed to survive. If we ever venture out into the solar system with long-term or permanent manned space missions, we should have little trouble availing ourselves of necessities like bulk building materials, hydrocarbon fuels, water, and oxygen.
Update: APOD has featured an artist’s conception of what it might look like from the surface of Titan (not very inviting).