NASA Finds Disappearing “Phantom Lakes” On Titan, Saturn’s Largest Moon
Saturn’s largest moon, Titan looks like an Earth that’s located in a parallel universe. This is a mysterious and intriguing moon because it’s the only world that has liquid on its surface.
It has its very own water cycle, and its poles are showing an abundance of glistening lakes. But these lakes are not filled with H2O like here on our planet, but instead, they are made up of liquid methane.
More than that, it seems that some of these lakes are vanishing.
CNET reports that the discovery was written in “a new study, published April 15 in Nature Astronomy, that assessed the lakes at Titan’s north pole, using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which was equipped with a RADAR instrument and infrared imager.”
It seems that a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory studied images from Cassini’s flyby in 2006.
The lakes disappeared
They have noted the presence of dark patches across the northern hemisphere – this was where the methane lakes were.
Titan needs about 30 Earth years to complete one year around the Sun and the seasons are incredibly long compared to the ones we’re having here on our planet.
When the team looked at the same region in 2013, Titan was out of winter and into spring. The thing is that three dark patches that were liquid on the surface were no longer visible back then.
“The so-called “phantom lakes” had disappeared,” CNET writes.
The continue and said that the research team “suggests the phantom lakes could be ponds that are only inches deep and may provide an example of the seasonal cycles that Titan experiences and the way that climate changes as it makes its way around the sun.”
Titan has always been said to be a world where life could thrive, and this discovery makes the statement false because these short-lived lakes may be nutrient-poor.
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