Just did earthly landscapes and then photographs the U.S. Space probe Cassini, located near Saturn.
Near the north pole of Titan — a satellite of the planet, almost the size of our moon, scientists have spotted many large lakes connected by channels. Surface of some stretches for more than a hundred kilometers. And it is clear that something flows in channels. The terrain is very reminiscent of Karelia, Finland or Canada.
"Karelian" lakes of Titan
And in other areas of Titan revealed the desert. The pictures they showed themselves dunes — sand ramparts height under 100 meters, a width of 1.2 kilometers that stretch for hundreds of kilometers.
Dune: Left on Titan, on the right — on Earth
NASA scientists who saw the pictures sent Cassini in 2005 and 2007, say: dunes in an area called Fensal, very similar to Earth — just like in the Kalahari Desert. And in areas Belet — reminiscent of the Rub Al Khali desert in Oman.
The higher the dunes of Titan, so they are thinner — the researchers note. The desert is there are extensive — occupy millions of square kilometers.
"Sand", "water" and "rocks"
Titanskie pictures, of course, amazing. As if not on another planet being photographed. But the fundamental difference with terrestrial landscapes still is. Saturn is the world "shifted temperature" on our 100, and places and to 200 degrees in the negative. Therefore, in the rivers and lakes — not water. And in the dunes — not sand. That is not the silicate grains.
— On Titan flowing liquid hydrocarbons — a mixture of methane and ethane — says one of the principal investigators Jonathan Lunayn the University of Arizona. — They are also filled with a lake.
Recently been refined: a liquid titanium nearly 80 percent ethane, about 10 percent methane and about 8 — propane. The rest — butene, butane and acetylene. What is also liquefied natural gas. It seems focused on Titan largest in the solar system and its reserves. Such that no Gazprom never dreamed of. But where did they come from is not known.
At the time, Cassini passed and pictures of rivers, meandering channel that cuts through the equatorial continent, called Xanadu.
Assume what is in the sand allow images of Titan probe Huygens, which separated from Cassini, sat on the Titan and photographed directly on the surface of Saturn's moon. In the frame were pebbles and boulders — a lot of rounded stones. Reached a diameter of some two meters. Their surface was polished smooth.
Pebbles: Right on Titan, on the right — on Earth
Now, scientists are increasingly inclined to believe that the pebbles and boulders formed in the same way as on Earth. The stones were run-in. Run-in of the liquid itself, which is available on Titan. Part of stones and pebbles are likely to consist of real water with impurities ammonia. That is, they are icy. At the temperature on the surface of Titan at minus 180 degrees Celsius ice becomes very strong. However, the origin of the local water, frozen in stone, remains enigmatic.
From the "stones", it seems, and formed a "sand" that fills the local desert. But according to another hypothesis, the grains of sand are frozen hydrocarbons that fall out of the atmosphere.
Is there life in the cold?
Scientists have repeatedly stressed: Titan resemblance to Earth's awesome. In fact, besides the continents, seas, rivers and lakes in the satellite has an atmosphere, clouds, fog. There are rains. The weather changes. And the cycle of liquid similar to Earth. And even discovered molecules that resemble amino acids from which proteins are constructed of terrestrial organisms. But is there life on Titan?
Biologists answered evasively: we do not know yet being able to metabolize at a temperature of minus 180 degrees Celsius.
He is the only one
Titan — the largest moon of Saturn. Among the satellites in the solar system is inferior in size only Ganymede — satellite of Jupiter. Titan — larger than Mercury. And almost twice as heavy as our Moon. Located on Saturn is about 3 times farther from Earth than the Moon. Therefore looks at the sky saturianskom drive half moon.
Titan — the only moon in the solar system that has a dense atmosphere.