Titan- Saturn’s moon may have hydrocarbon lakes

Hydrocarbon lakes on Saturn's moon.


The water cycle of the earth is known to all. Rainwater is gathered in ponds, lakes, and rivers. New papers have revealed that in titan- the Saturn’s moon the rain is liquid methane, not water. The data from the Cassini mission helped the researchers to study the water cycle of Titan. The spacecraft of Cassini mission has ended the stay in Saturn in September 2017. The spacecraft has gathered strange information about the massive moon, as the spacecraft has flown past the Titan almost a hundred times.

Previously it is discovered that the only place where liquid bodies are found outside earth is on Titan. The author of the newspaper Shannon MacKenzie revealed some interesting facts about the Titan. The lead author is the planetary scientists at Johns Hopkins University’s applied physics laboratory. According to the new paper, there are small liquid-filled lakes on the Titan spotted by Cassini. The liquid filled lake was dried up when Cassini returns, but it was placed first in Titan. The research suggests, the lake that was filled with fluid maybe seeped into the planetary surface or got evaporated. The phantom lakes formed on the Titan may be due to seasonal change, says MacKenzie. The reason behind the appearance and disappearance of the water bodies are not confirmed.

On April 2017, when Cassini last passes over Titan, precise altimetry data is gathered. The information is specialized because the spacecraft was sent to Lake Region to measure the depth and height of different substances on the moon of Saturn. Earlier a planetary scientist Mastrogiuseppe at Caltech has measured the thickness of larger water bodies by using similar kind of data. So Mastrogiuseppe and the team have identified the lakes on Titan in the second paper. The paper revealed that the bottoms of the lake are about 100 meters. Methane dominates the liquid in the lake. The team said they assumed that rains on the moon of Saturn form the methane lakes.

The study also suggests, there may be another feature exist on Titan as on the earth, that is caves. The existence of caves below the surface of Titan is detected. The caves are formed by dissolving of the surrounding rock. Only a kind of landscape called Karst is left behind. The karst is characterized by aquifers, springs, and sinkholes. The research team has found there is a link between the liquid features and karst characteristics. So it is believed that the surrounding may seep the liquid. The karst system is much similar to the earth.

Some future missions will use robotic explorers to study the caves and lava tubes on Mars and the moon. The purpose like that will take time because that can’t be possible in any time soon. NASA is considering a project called dragonfly, in which NASA will send drones to the strange moon. The mission is expected to be launch in the year 2025. If the task is a success, NASA will send the drone to Titan.


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