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US NewsNASA's Cassini finds disappearing 'phantom lakes' on Saturn's largest moon

08:00  16 april  2019
08:00  16 april  2019 Source:   cnet.com

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Saturn ' s largest moon , Titan, resembles an Earth you might find in a parallel universe. It is a mysterious and intriguing moon because it's the That's according to a new study, published April 15 in Nature Astronomy, that assessed the lakes at Titan's north pole, using data from NASA ' s Cassini

Saturn ' s largest moon , Titan, resembles an Earth you might find in a parallel universe. It is a mysterious and intriguing moon because it's the That's according to a new study, published April 15 in Nature Astronomy, that assessed the lakes at Titan's north pole, using data from NASA ' s Cassini .

NASA's Cassini finds disappearing 'phantom lakes' on Saturn's largest moon © CNET cassinititan Saturn's largest moon, Titan, resembles an Earth you might find in a parallel universe.

It is a mysterious and intriguing moon because it's the only other world we currently know of that has liquid on its surface. It has its own "water cycle" and its poles show an abundance of glistening lakes. It's just that those lakes aren't full of good ol' H2O, like down here on Earth. Instead, they're mostly made up of liquid methane.

And weirdly enough, it seems like some of them are just up and vanishing.

What's going on in this colourful Saturn image? (Video by: GeoBeats)

That's according to a new study, published April 15 in Nature Astronomy, that assessed the lakes at Titan's north pole, using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which was equipped with a RADAR instrument and infrared imager.

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Before NASA ’ s Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn ’ s depths, it performed a final 2017 flyby of Titan, Saturn ’ s largest moon . Deep lakes and phantom ponds found on Saturn ' s moon Titan. Using data collected by the Cassini spacecraft, researchers have uncovered methane lakes that

Astronomers hope a final Cassini flyby will solve a mystery in one of Titan' s lakes .

A team of researchers from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory studied images from Cassini's flyby in 2006, noting the presence of dark patches across the northern hemisphere -- the methane lakes. Titan takes almost 30 Earth years to complete one year around the sun, so its seasons are drastically longer than what we are used to on Earth.

NASA's Cassini finds disappearing 'phantom lakes' on Saturn's largest moon © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. NASA nicknamed this spinning vortex of a storm seen on Saturn's north pole "The Rose" based on its resemblance to the Earth flower. The Cassini image is shown in false-color to highlight the storm's whirling cloud patterns. When the team went back and looked at the same region in 2013, Titan had moved on from its Game of Thrones-length winter and into spring. Three particular dark patches that signified liquid upon the surface were no longer visible. The so-called "phantom lakes" had disappeared.

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The NASA ’ s Cassini spacecraft made a remarkable discovery when it found a plastic ingredient –propylene - on Titan, Saturn ’ s largest moon . This marks the first time the material has been detected on another world. "This is the first definitive detection of the plastic ingredient on any moon or planet

NASA ' s Cassini spacecraft gave scientists the closest-ever look at the mini- moons near Saturn — and new data that helps explain their weird shape and what they're made of.

NASA's Cassini finds disappearing 'phantom lakes' on Saturn's largest moon © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. A graceful Cassini image from early 2017 shows Saturn's face and rings lit up by the sun. NASA explains what we're seeing with the rings : "From this vantage point just beneath the ring plane, the dense B ring becomes dark and essentially opaque, letting almost no light pass through. But some light reflected by the planet passes through the less dense A ring, which appears above the B ring in this photo." The research team suggests the phantom lakes could be ponds that are only inches deep and may provide an example of the seasonal cycles that Titan experiences and the way that climate changes as it makes its way around the sun. And though Titan has been floated as a potential place where life may have found a way to thrive, these short-lived lakes are, according to the paper, "nutrient-poor". That makes a bad place for aliens to call home.

Gallery: Stunning images of moons in our solar system (Photo Services)

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Cassini finds disappearing ' phantom lakes ' on Saturn ' s largest moon . That doesn't mean we will find a race of purple Titans on the icy moon -- and certainly not any particularly mad ones, either -- but it may tell us a thing or two about how life starts.

AN alien lake district has been discovered on Saturn ’ s moon Titan, further fuelling hopes of finding “extraordinary” life forms in our solar system. This surprise finding suggests the liquid either evaporated or seeped into the surrounding planetary surface. These " phantom lakes " may be


The current issue of Nature Astronomy also features another paper describing Titan's unusual methane lakes in the April 15 edition, whereby a team used Cassini's RADAR to show some just how deep some of the northern lakes go. They found that they could exceed up to 100 meters in depth

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Although NASA does not have yet a follow-up mission to Saturn on its schedule, scientists are dreaming up ideas for one. An artist’ s illustration of a proposed mission that would send flying drones to explore Titan, Saturn ’ s largest moon .Credit Mike Carroll/Johns Hopkins University Applied

NASA ’ s Cassini spacecraft burned up in Saturn ’ s atmosphere on Friday, after 20 years in space . Each season on Saturn lasts about seven Earth years. Cassini watched as Saturn ’ s rings slowly tipped Mission scientists were particularly interested in Titan, Saturn ’ s largest moon — a hazy ball

NASA's Cassini finds disappearing 'phantom lakes' on Saturn's largest moon © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Titan looks colorful in this composite infrared image assembled from Cassini shots taken during a November 2015 flyby. Scientists can see through the moon's hazy atmosphere and inspect surface details through the use of near-infrared wavelengths. Titan is Saturn's largest moon. NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which launched in 1997 and reached Saturn in 2004, observed the ringed planet and its moons over the course of 13 years. It was sent hurtling into Saturn on Sept. 15, 2017, burning up in the atmosphere. The space agency is currently mulling over a new proposal to send a drone, known as Dragonfly, to study Titan in greater detail.



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