Scientists discovered that Saturn’s moon Titan was hosting electric sand. The grains contain an electric charge which causes them to bundle up and stick to each other. Thus, they create formations which can resist to any harsh conditions.
The wind is responsible for this electric charge which appears in the grains. When the wind blows, these sand particles start rubbing against each other. The friction that results from this process is the one that creates the electricity.
The electric charge brings sand particles together
Researchers explained that such a process could not be possible on Earth. Here, the gravity is much higher and the sand particles are denser. Therefore, wind cannot make them build up into such formations as it happens on Titan. A lower density leads to static electricity.
For the study, the researchers recreated the conditions on Saturn’s moon. They also discovered some interesting facts about the weather on the moon. The wind on Titan appears to circulate from east to west. However, the sand dunes look as if the wind would have blown in the opposite direction.
The research brought an answer to this. It appears that the electricity is strong enough to hold all sand particles together and to make them resistant to any winds. This suggests that the geography on Titan is heavily influenced by this electric charge.
To make it clearer for everybody, researchers made a comparison with sand castles. On Earth, one needs water to build a sand castle. However, this would be possible on Titan without any external help. The sand grains can hold on to each other.
Titan is a peculiar moon
This moon of Saturn is the second biggest in the Solar System, following Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. However, it is quite unique. Titan is well-known for being the only moon in the Solar System which has clouds and an atmosphere, formed mostly of methane and nitrogen.
Also, it is the only place besides Earth with liquids flowing on its surface. However, these liquids are not water, but methane and ethane. They are responsible for the clouds which surround the moon. Then, these gases return to the surface as rain does on Earth.
Cassini, the spacecraft sent by NASA for exploration, is the one responsible for collecting all the data. The scientists gathered all the information and put it up in the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
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