Saturn's moon, Titan, may be almost a billion kilometers from Earth, but a recently published document based on data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveals a new way in which this distant world and ours They are disturbingly similar. Just as the surface of the oceans on Earth is at an average elevation that we call "sea level", the seas of Titan are also at an average elevation.
This is the latest finding that shows remarkable similarities between Earth and Titan, the only world we know in our solar system that has stable liquid on its surface. The twist on Titan is that its lakes and seas are filled with hydrocarbons instead of liquid water, and the water ice covered by a layer of solid organic material serves as the bedrock that surrounds these lakes and seas.
The new paper, directed by Alex Hayes at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, finds that Titan's seas follow a constant rise in relation to Titan's gravitational pull, just like Earth's oceans. It seems that the smaller lakes on Titan appear at elevations several hundred feet, or meters, higher than the sea level of Titan. High-altitude lakes are commonly found on Earth. The highest lake navigable by large ships, Lake Titicaca, is more than 12,000 feet [3,700 meters] above sea level.
The new study suggests that elevation is important because Titan's liquid bodies appear to be connected below the surface in something like an aquifer system on Earth. The hydrocarbons seem to flow below Titan's surface similar to the way water flows through rock or underground gravel on Earth, so that nearby lakes communicate with each other and share a common liquid level.
The document was based on data obtained by Cassini radar instrument until months before the ship was burned in Saturn's atmosphere last year. He also used a new topographic map published in the same edition of Geophysical Research Letters.
For more details on the two documents, visit here
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This effect is also seen in the Earth's atmosphere, which suggests that the two planets are more similar than previously thought.
Despite its considerable differences, the atmospheres of the Earth, Ju … Read more
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