Seas of tranquility on Saturn’s icy moon


The waves on the methane seas of Saturn’s moon Titan are very small, according to new research.


Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, with Saturn in the background.
Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, with Saturn in the background.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory / Cassini Orbiter

Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, has a cloudy appearance thanks to its atmosphere containing gaseous nitrogen and hydrocarbons.

Beneath the atmosphere is a crust of frozen water dotted with lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons. Methane and ethane rain from the sky.

Though it may sound inhospitable, scientists believer that it may contain the necessary ingredients for life – if not on the surface then in the watery ocean that is believe to lie deep beneath the icy crust.

New research published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters suggests that conditions on Titan’s seas of liquid methane may be relatively serene – there are waves, but they are only about a centimetre high – which makes the seas an ideal place to land some future exploratory probe.

  1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X17303163
  2. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X17303163
Latest Stories
MoreMore Articles