New research depicts the first details found by NASA scientists on Saturn’s moon Titan, about which they thought has the same environment as the ancient Earth. However, the discoveries left them shocked.
Titan is the biggest moon of Saturn and the second biggest one in the Solar System. The space object was of enormous interest to NASA as its thick atmosphere complicated the determination of what the surface might be like. The climate, though, along with wind and rain, creates shapes such as dunes, lakes, rivers, and seas, making scientists to believe it holds similarities to the Earth of billions of years ago.
Professor Brian Cox depicted how NASA sent a spacecraft to investigate the Saturn’s moon in 1997, during the BBC series ‘The Planets.’ He said, in the first episode, that amidst the moons in the Solar System, there is one particular moon scientists think perhaps has the best odds of becoming similar to the Earth.
Saturn’s moon Titan houses rivers and lakes of liquid methane
The Huygens spacecraft was the first probe sent to explore the surface of Titan, and its camera sent back the first glimpses of this space object. The space probe managed a soft landing and kept sending back to Earth its observations.
The scientists controlling the craft saw what it appeared to hold a feature such as a floodplain, or a riverbed. The rocks depicted in the first picture captured by Huygens looked eroded by a liquid, but researchers realized they are, in fact, rocks of a frozen liquid, because the temperature of the moon is -180C.
Dr. Cox noted how NASA researchers were left shocked by the fact that Huygens identified a considerable amount of methane, a flammable gas on our planet. That means that, at the rather high atmospheric pressure and cold temperature on the moon, the gas exists as a liquid. Therefore, Saturn’s moon Titan could be flooding not with water, but with liquid methane. NASA’s space probe survived for a couple of hours only but did not discover any evidence of methane in the place it landed.