Scientists reveal first global geological map of Saturn’s moon Titan, say Earth-like qualities
The scientists have unveiled first map for one of many moons of Saturn planet, Titan. After years of studying it, they say it has earth-like features. The map is based on radar, infrared and other data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which studied Saturn and its moons from 2004 to 2017. Titan, with a diameter of 3,200 miles (5,150 km), is the Solar System’s second-biggest moon, the biggest being Jupiter’s Ganymede. It is larger than the planet Mercury.
Organic materials – carbon-based compounds critical for fostering living organisms – play a leading role on Titan. On Earth, water rains down from clouds and fills rivers, lakes and oceans. On Titan, clouds spew hydrocarbons like methane and ethane – which are gases on Earth – in liquid form due to the moon’s frigid climate. Rainfall occurs everywhere on Titan, but the equatorial regions are drier than the poles. Plains (covering 65 percent of the surface) and dunes (covering 17 percent of the surface) made up of frozen bits of methane and other hydrocarbons dominate Titan’s mid-latitudes and equatorial regions, respectively. Titan is the only Solar System object other than Earth boasting stable liquids on the surface, with lakes and seas of full of methane being major features at its polar regions. Hilly and mountainous areas, thought to represent exposed portions of Titan’s crust of water ice, represent 14 percent of the surface.