Ice wraps nearly half surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon

Ice wraps nearly half surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon
3 orientations of Titan's globe. Mapped in blue is the icy corridor. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

In a new study, scientists have discovered new ice feature on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

They found that a long ice wraps nearly halfway around Titan.

The research was conducted by the University of Arizona.

Previous research has shown that on Titan methane fills the lakes, but the source of Titan’s methane is unknown.

Scientists have found that the evaporation of methane from the polar lakes may provide a source.

But Titan’s lakes have only 33% of the methane in Titan’s atmosphere and will be exhausted soon.

Researchers have hypothesized that the methane may be supplied by subsurface reservoirs that vent methane into the Titan’s atmosphere.

In the study, the team examined the composition of Titan’s surface.

They analyzed half of Titan’s surface and found that it exhibits the strongest ice features.

The ice feature contains a linear ice corridor that wraps around 40% of Titan’s circumference.

The researchers found that the ice corridor is not related to any surface features or measurements of the subsurface. The ice corridor is currently eroding.

They also analyzed spectral images of the topmost layer of the surface taken by Cassini’s Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer.

The images showed weak surface features. The researchers found various organic materials in certain regions.

Now the team is planning to examine the poles where methane seas reside.

They hope future work can tell if Titan and Earth are similar organic-rich worlds.

The lead author of the study is Caitlin Griffith, a professor in the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

The study is published in Nature Astronomy.

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