Scientists explore why the pools of liquid on Saturn’s moon Titan are oddly smooth.
Lakes on another world are strange enough. But lakes without waves? Scientists studying Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, have never seen a wave in the hundreds of liquid pools discovered at its poles. Some of these pools are comparable in size to Earth’s biggest lakes. However, unlike our planet, Titan's lakes are not made of water. Data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft show they're filled with a mix of methane, ethane and other complex hydrocarbons. Such molecules freeze at very low temperatures and can still exist as a liquid in Titan’s frigid minus 290°F weather. Cassini has surveyed Titan since it arrived at the Saturn system in 2004. Any wave, even millimeters high, would appear as a bright spot in its radar images. So why isn’t the surf up on these alien lakes? Researchers have put forth a new theory that may explain their calm surface. Watch the video to learn more.
Please give credit for this item to: Science@NASA and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Cover image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute Lakes image courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute Ligeia Mare image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell Sun reflection image courtesy of NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/DLR
Short URL to share this page: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/11352