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The liquid sea of ​​-182 degrees for Saturn’s largest moon holds many surprises

Titan is the only extraterrestrial celestial body in the solar system that has liquid matter on its surface. Its largest sea is the size of Spain, and new research suggests it is much deeper than previously thought. Researchers use an automatic submarine to examine what its depths hide.

Titan is Saturn’s largest moon, with a radius of 2,574 kilometers larger than Mercury. However, Titan, which was discovered in 1655, is not distinguished just because of its size, it is the only moon in the solar system that has a dense atmosphere.

Perhaps the most special thing, however, is that outside of Earth, Titan is the only celestial body in the Solar System to have proven liquid lakes and seas on its surface.

Of course, outside of these parts of the solar system, these lakes are not composed of water, a mixture of liquid methane, ethane, and nitrogen ripples at extremely low temperatures.

According to a new account, Lake Kraken Mare, Titan’s largest lake, could be deeper than previously thought. Scientific American Scientific Journal.

Until recently, Titan’s dense atmosphere prevented us from seeing through it, but Cassini’s spacecraft instruments made it possible to actually visually inspect the surface (Image: NASA)

The new findings are based on analysis of radar recordings of the Cassini spacecraft that were made in 2014. Based on the radar signals, the researchers looked at where they could spot the sea floor and where they couldn’t.

At the great estuary in the northern part of the Kraken Sea, signals echoed from the sea floor as echoes, indicating that the liquid could be about 85 meters deep in these places.

However, in the central and western parts, there was no echo of the sea floor, indicating that the sea could be at least 100 meters or even 300 meters deep.

The researchers say the results are very interesting, but they also note that some signals may not have bounced back not because the sea is so deep, but because the liquid has absorbed more radar signals than expected. Absorption is determined, of course, by the properties of the liquid.

The Titan Sea has been reported to be composed of 70 percent methane, 16 percent nitrogen and 14 percent ethane, with a temperature of -182 ° C.

Incidentally, it was an exaggeration at the beginning of the article that a mixture of liquid methane, ethane, and nitrogen is spreading on Titan. It also follows from the physical composition that the waves on the surface of the Kraken Sea are only a few millimeters high, as measured by the Cassini spacecraft.

In any case, for engineers, depth and configuration data are necessary so that they can plan other missions to Titan in the future. Although it is not yet one of NASA’s accepted missions, researchers have already made initial plans for a robotic submarine to send it to Titan.

The Kraken Sea is key to using the device and discovering Titan, as it is estimated that 80 percent of the liquid found on the surface of the Moon is in a sea the size of Spain.

The future submarine will expand the range of space exploration activities through offshore operations, a similarly large step The first martian helicopter. Once used, we can say that space exploration is already underway on Earth, water and air, even if these terms mean a slight difference in space from Earth.

NASA animation for Titan submarine:

Cover photo: Cassini spacecraft screenshot of Titan (Image: NASA)