News

Mysterious ice on Saturn’s moon Titan that stretches for thousands of miles

connectVideoFox News Flash-main news for 30 April

Fox News Flash-main news for 30 April are here. Check out what to click on Foxnews.com

Saturn’s moon Titan has a mysterious ice that extends to almost halfway up its huge surface area.

Scientists, who are not sure what type of geological feature of the ice block may indicate, on the basis of their new research on data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which spent 13 years of exploring the Saturn system.

“It is a good example of how we’re doing really well in the continuation of the mine this great Cassini data for the new results,” Jani Radebaugh, a planetary scientist at Brigham Young University, who was not involved in the new research, told Space.com. “We are far from done with the understanding of Titan to the extent to which we can with Cassini.”

MYSTERY SEA IS OPEN DURING THE ANTARCTIC WINTER. NOW, SCIENTISTS KNOW WHY

Titan, which is 50 percent larger than Earth the Moon has an atmosphere rich in nitrogen and contains a number of methane, hydrogen and other gases, where liquids made of organic compounds rain down on the surface. The surface of the moon temperature is a bone-chilling -179.2 degrees Celsius, and Titan receives only 0.1 percent of the light that Earth gets.

“What we are curious about is, then, that the global soft snow of organic substances, what happens?” Radebaugh told Space.com. “It can be really hard to see through that layer to see what’s going on.”

The researchers used a technique called principal component analysis, which allows them to pick up on smaller elements in the data that might be overlooked otherwise, according to Space.com.

ALASKA’S EXCELSIOR GLACIER IS REPLACED BY A MORE 5 TIMES THE SIZE OF CENTRAL PARK

Still, scientists said more research is needed to discover what was the cause of the not-covered ice on Titan’s surface.

“It is a great feature that tells us something about the way in which Titan was in the past, but we don’t really know what it is,” lead author Caitlin Griffith, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, told Space.com. “I think he’s actually telling us that it is complicated, the surface is quite complicated.”

The research is described in a paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular