The Cassini spacecraft caught a new glimpse at Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. It beamed back to Earth images never seen before. The unmanned spacecraft sent by NASA revealed picturesque images of a frozen alien landscape.
Despite the fact that Titan is enveloped in a thick haze, Cassini’s radars have been able to penetrate the fog to take detailed shots of the surface of the moon. Cassini got to the Saturn system in 2004. It took the first pictures of Titan during a flyby which took place on July 25th. Then, the spacecraft approached the giant moon by 607 miles.
The images show dunes which are probably made of hydrocarbon grain. The dunes which surround Titan’s equator should enable scientists to better understand how this relief took shape.
Jani Radebaugh, who overlooks the Cassini mission stated that dunes form dynamically and in the presence of winds.
In total, the Cassini spacecraft had 122 encounters with Titan. These are the remaining four flybys, which will have a closer look at the lakes and seas to the north of Titan, which are filled with a mysterious liquid.
Titan has many mountains in areas called Xanadu and the Xanadu annex. These mountains look isolated and are found in small patches.
Experts believe these mountains are the oldest landscapes which exist on Titan. They are cold, icy areas beneath the Titan fog, which makes the moon look yellow from a distance.
So far, Titan has been nicknamed “Earth’s toxic twin” because it is the only other place in our solar system which contains rivers or waterfalls. On Titan, these lakes and seas are made of liquid methane instead of water.
If it was found on Titan, water would come in a frozen state. That’s because the surface temperatures on Titan are at -292 degrees Fahrenheit.
Titan has a lower gravity so its atmosphere reaches further into space. It spans for 370 miles into space.Remove featured image
Because of the thick atmosphere and lower gravity, methane rains on Titan look twice as big as Earth’s rains do.
Some scientists believe that instead of searching for life which resembles Earth life, we should think of alternatives which adapt to the local environment.
On Titan, this would be a hypothetical azotosome, made of microorganisms which can survive in liquid methane. If the theory is true or not, is for future generations to figure out.
Image Source – Flickr