Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global View Of Valleys On Saturn's Moon Titan Shows North-South Contrast

Date:
September 29, 2009
Source:
Europlanet Media Centre
Summary:
Scientists are presenting the first results of a global analysis of spatial patterns, occurrence and origin of river channels on Saturn's moon Titan.

Fluvial valleys in the north polar region of Titan.
Credit: Cassini Radar Team, ESA, JPL, NASA

A team of international scientists led by Mirjam Langhans, from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), will present first results of a global analysis of spatial patterns, occurrence and origin of river channels on Titan at the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam, Germany, on Wednesday 16 September.

To date scientists have focused their investigations on single channels due to the fact that radar and spectral data have only been captured for some narrow areas of the surface below the thick nitrogen atmosphere of this mysterious moon of Saturn. This data jigsaw puzzle is increasingly being filled in through further fly bys of Titan by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Now, for the first time, the DLR team has developed a global perspective of the deposits of liquid hydrocarbons, such as methane and ethane, and their effected forms of erosion.

Beside the Earth, Titan is the only body in the Solar System where liquids directly have been proved to exist. The moon’s exceptionally thick atmosphere, where chemical reactions occur at freezing temperatures of -179 degrees Celsius, makes this second largest moon of the Solar System of special interest for planetary science.

The DLR scientists have compiled a global map of Titan, which combines all radar data and details the surface of Titan down to 300 meters in size. Furthermore, data in near infrared wavelengths have been captured for a wide band around the equator by Cassini’s Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) with a resolution of up to 300 meters per pixel.

On this equatorial band, bright continent areas and extensive dune regions can be distinguished. Dark spots on the continent areas are of special interest, because they are supposed to be fluvial deposits. Additional radar data show channels precisely linked to them, which are dry, canyon-like, and broadly distributed.

Towards the north pole, the picture is much richer. There is a dense network of branching, active river systems similar to those on Earth. They are visible down to small tributaries on radar images and can be seen flowing into multiple lakes. Contrastingly, hardly any channels are found at the south pole.

“The observations of the extensive river structures at the north pole have led the team to a fascinating conclusion: there must be heavy and frequent rain of liquid hydrocarbons. Furthermore the measured channels provide first clues about the composition and relative age of different regions of Titan,” said Langhans.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Europlanet Media Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Europlanet Media Centre. "Global View Of Valleys On Saturn's Moon Titan Shows North-South Contrast." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915202244.htm>.
Europlanet Media Centre. (2009, September 29). Global View Of Valleys On Saturn's Moon Titan Shows North-South Contrast. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915202244.htm
Europlanet Media Centre. "Global View Of Valleys On Saturn's Moon Titan Shows North-South Contrast." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915202244.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) — NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX on Tuesday to build America's next spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2017, opening the way to a new chapter in human spaceflight. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil. It has announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins