On Saturn’s Moon, NASA’s Cassini Reveals Lakes of Liquid Methane

Washington: Researchers on Monday provided the most extensive look at one of the solar system’s most exotic features: prime lakeside land from the northern polar region of Saturn’s moon Titan – if you like lakes made from stuff. Using data acquired by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft before the mission ended in 2017 with a voluntary dive into Saturn, scientists found that some of Titan’s lakes of hydrocarbons in this region are amazingly deep while others can be shallow and seasonal. Earth and titan are just two places in the solar system with standing bodies of liquid on the surface.

Titan boasts of lakes, rivers and seas of hydrocarbons: compounds of hydrogen and carbon like those which are the principal components of oil and natural gas. The researchers described landforms similar to mesas towering over the local landscape, topped with liquid lakes over 300 legs deep comprised mainly of methane. The scientists suspect the lakes formed when enclosing bedrock chemically dissolved and dropped, a procedure which happens with a particular type of lake on land. The scientists described phantom lakes, which appeared during wintertime, to be wide, but shallow ponds – maybe only a couple inches deep – but vanished or emptied in the surface by springtime, a procedure which takes seven years on Titan.

The findings presented further proof about the hydrological cycle of Titan, with liquid hydrocarbons hauled down from clouds, flowing over its surface and evaporating back into the heavens. This is akin to Earth’s water cycle. Since of Titan chemistry and environments, scientists suspect it could harbour life, especially in its surface ocean of water, but possibly in the face bodies of liquid hydrocarbons. Titan is a really fascinating object in the solar system, and each time we look closely at the information we figure out something rdquo,” California Institute of Technology Planetary researcher Marco Mastrogiuseppe explained. Titan, with a diameter of 3, 200 mile, is the solar system’s second largest moon, behind only Jupiter’s Ganymede. It’s larger than the planet Mercury. Titan is the most Earth like body in the solar system. It’s lakes, canyons, rivers, dune areas of sand particles are approximately the same dimension like silicon sand grains on Earth, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s planetary scientist Shannon MacKenzie said.