Apparatus “Cassini” has proven the presence of deep millennial lakes on Saturn’s moon

Earth and Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, has one remarkable similarity is the only space objects in the Solar system where there are liquid lakes and seas. While on the planet they are filled with fresh or salt water, on Titan, they consist of methane and ethane at a temperature of about minus 170-180 degrees Celsius. Recently two groups of scientists studied the data of apparatus “Cassini” and discovered an interesting feature of Titan — it has not only a small lake which dries up quickly, but deep bodies of water formed thousands of years ago.

Спутник Сатурна Титан

The study of small lakes took a group under the leadership of Shannon Mackenzie. They worked with data collected by the VIMS spectrometer and instrument Imaging Science Subsystem. Three lakes that they observed in the winter, the spring had already disappeared — they were small ponds which have evaporated or soaked into the surface of the satellite. Channels that can nourish these small ponds, the device “Cassini” could not be found, as their size is unlikely to exceed 300 meters.

Group Marco Mastrogiuseppe, in turn, studied deep lakes based on data collected by the RADAR instrument during the convergence of Cassini with Titan in April 2017. These cisterns to a depth of 100 meters are mainly composed of methane, and thus differ from the largest in the southern hemisphere of Titan lake Ontario, which contains equal amounts of methane and ethane. The landscape of the satellite suggests that these lakes were formed thousands of years ago and continue to grow due to abundant rainfall and minimum outflow.

Every time we do open on Titan, it is becoming more and more mysterious. However, new discoveries help to answer the many interested questions and understand the hydrology of Saturn’s moon.

Marco Mastrogiuseppe, head of research

In the future the space Agency NASA intends to send to Saturn’s moon submarine that will sink to the depths of its seas. In 2018 to test it I decided to use the pool, filled with methane and ethane.

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