Surprisingly, the Saturn's moon Titan in finding more similarities with Earth. The U.S. Space probe Cassini, which is orbiting the planet, has made another series of satellite images of the northern pole. They clearly saw the scientists rivers, lakes, connected by channels and much more …
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.
At the time, Cassini passed and pictures of rivers, meandering channel that cuts through the equatorial continent of Xanadu.
Near the south pole of Titan probe photographed the lake area of almost 5,000 square kilometers, called Ontario. A planetary scientists led by Thomas Cornet of the University of Nantes spotted it similar to the terrestrial salt lake Etosha Pan, located in Namibia. The lakes are not just similar in appearance. Both in the same way that filled by the rain, then dry it evaporates.
Lake Ontario on Titan (left) and Lake Etosha Pan in Namibia.
The long road in the dunes
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, which stretch for hundreds of kilometers.
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 resemble the Rub al-Khali 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 "stones"
Titanskie pictures, of course, amazing. As if not on another planet being photographed. But the fundamental difference with terrestrial landscapes still is. Saturn — a world of "temperature-shifted" with respect to 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, ethane, propane, — says one of the principal investigators Jonathan Lunayn the University of Arizona. — They are also filled with rivers and lakes.
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 unknown.
Assume what is in Titan's sand, allow pictures of the 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.
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 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.
Titan in the context of:
1. Soil and hydrocarbons
2. A layer of ice
4. A layer of ice
5. Silicate rocks and hydrates
Is there life in the cold?
Scientists have repeatedly stressed: Titan resemblance to Earth's awesome. After all, in addition to continents, seas, rivers and lakes, 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 still have not being able to metabolize at a temperature of minus 180 degrees Celsius.
However, there are also enthusiasts.
— Local substance is unlikely to resemble anything already known — says researcher Chris McKay of NASA. —
They can be used in the atmosphere of hydrogen Titanium same manner as in the world live organisms breathe oxygen.
The scientist has hinted that on Saturn's quite possible to find a completely new forms of biological life.
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. So look at the Saturnian sky disk, half moon.
Titan — the only moon in the solar system that has a dense atmosphere.
Below ground there — the ocean
On the cold twin of Earth, it seems, there is a real water. This is the conclusion of Astrophysics of the Royal Observatory in Brussels, who analyzed the motion of Titan's orbit. It is strange and varies periodically deformed.
Scientists believe: the anomaly caused by the fact that under the surface of the satellite — at a depth of 100 kilometers — is the ocean. And the satellite in its structure resembles a layer cake — top dunes, rivers, and lakes. Next — a layer of ice. Even lower — the ocean. Beneath it — again the ice. At the very bottom — silicate rocks.