by Brooks Hays
Pasadena, Calif. (UPI) Nov 2, 2015
Cassini's documentation of Saturn and its myriad satellites continues. On Monday, NASA shared a new Cassini image showcasing the dunelands of Titan, the largest of Saturn's moons.
Through the haze of Titan's atmosphere, the image reveals two vast regions of dunes, Fensal to the north and Aztlan to the south. Titan's dunes are made of hydrocarbon sands. A patch of vertically oriented dunes connects the two regions, forming an dark H-like shape on the moon's otherwise white icy surface.
Composed mostly of water ice and rocky material, Titan is both strange and familiar. Like Earth, it boasts clouds, rain and lakes, but they're made of liquid methane and ethane.
Unlike Earth, Titan receives barely any sun. Yet, its atmosphere, comprised mostly of nitrogen with a small amount of methane, is twice as thick as Earth's. Methane's greenhouse gas effect keeps Titan warmer than it would otherwise be -- a balmy negative 179 degrees Celsius.
Despite the thick atmosphere, the moon hosts relatively few clouds, enabling Cassini to photograph its many unique features.
Cassini's infrared light imager captured the newly shared photo on July 25, 2015. The probe, which has been exploring Saturn and its moons since 2006, periodically surveys Titan for surface changes -- helping scientists better understand Titan's weather patterns and geological processes.
Explore The Ring World of Saturn and her moons
Jupiter and its Moons
The million outer planets of a star called Sol
News Flash at Mercury
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|