Large hydrocarbon lakes found on Titan
The Cassini probe has discovered large lakes on the Saturnian moon of Titan. The probe did a flyby and took images of the lakes, about of dozen of them, with sizes ranging from 6 miles to 62 miles wide. The lakes appear to be comprised of methane and ethane.
Scientists believe methane gas breaks up in Titan’s atmosphere and forms smog clouds that rain methane down to the surface. But the source of methane inside the moon, which releases the gas into the atmosphere, is still unknown, Lunine said.
Last year, Cassini found what appeared to be a liquid hydrocarbon lake about the size of Lake Ontario on Titan’s south pole. But the recent flyby marked the first time the spacecraft spied a multitude of lakes.
Cassini’s next Titan encounter will be Sept. 7, when it will be 620 miles away.
This marks the 1st time we’ve confirmed the presense of lakes on any other planetary body but Earth. It’s a monumental discovery. The Cassini-Huygens project has yielded some of the most exciting finds in space exploration and it appears to have quite a bit of juice left.
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