Saturday, July 06, 2024

Saturn’s Moon Titan: Hydrocarbon Lakes & Seas Made Visible | NASA Cassini

Saturn’s Moon Titan: Hydrocarbon Lakes & Seas Made Visible | NASA Cassini

Titan - nIR+UV False Color - September 2, 2007
Titan - nIR+UV False Color - June 25, 2009
Titan - nIR+UV False Color - September 13, 2017
Titan - nIR+UV False Color - June 4, 2005
Titan - nIR+UV False Color - April 8, 2012

Titan is the only planetary body in our solar system, other than Earth, known to have stable liquid on its surface. However, instead of water raining down from clouds and filling lakes and seas as on Earth, on Titan it is methane and ethane—hydrocarbons that we think of as gases but that behave as liquids in Titan’s frigid climate. 

Scientists say it rains methane and ethane there, filling the lakes and seas. These liquids also carve meandering rivers and channels on Titan's surface. 

Titan is larger than the planet Mercury and is the second largest moon in our solar system. Titan’s subsurface water could be a place to harbor life as we know it, while its surface lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons could conceivably harbor life that uses different chemistry than we are used to—that is, life as we do not yet know it. 

Titan's lower atmosphere contains carbon-based aerosols that produce haze. This generally blocks visible light, preventing us from seeing the moon's lakes and seas directly. Fortunately, Cassini's ultraviolet light, infrared, and radar instruments allowed this atmospheric layer to be penetrated.

The Cassini-Huygens mission was a cooperative project of NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter. The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian Space Agency, working with team members from the U.S. and several European countries.

Cassini Mission information:

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/CICLOPS
Processing: Kevin M. Gill
Image Dates: June 4, 2005-Sept. 13, 2017
Release Dates: July 1-5, 2024

#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Planet #Saturn #Moon #Titan #Atmosphere #Lakes #Seas #Hydrocarbons #Ultraviolet #Radar #Astrobiology #SolarSystem #CassiniMission #CassiniSpacecraft #JPL #Caltech #SSI #UnitedStates #ESA #Italy #Italia #ASI #Europe #STEM #Education

No comments:

Post a Comment