Saturn’s Moon Titan: NASA Cassini Aircraft
The NASA Cassini Aircraft found that Saturn’s largest moon has small deep lakes filled with Methane. Cassini data measured Ontario Lacus the only major lake in Titan’s southern hemisphere. The lakes, rivers and seas mainly contain compounds of hydrogen and carbon which are the essential for the formation of petroleum and natural gas.
Facts Related to Titan
- Titan is the solar system’s second largest moon & first largest moon being Jupiter’s Ganymede.
- Other than earth Titan being the only planetary body in our solar system known to have stable liquid on its surface.
- Titan’s hydrologic cycle works similarly to the Earth’s with only one major difference i.e. Instead of water evaporating from seas, forming clouds and rain Titan does it all with methane and ethane.
- Seas with low elevation, canyons and islands were found on the eastern side of the Titan & on the western side small, deep lakes have been found.
NASA’s Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft
- Launched on 15th October 1997, Cassini arrived in the Saturn system in 2004 and ended its mission in 2017 by consciously plunging into the Saturn’s atmosphere and mapping across a wide range of liquid lakes and seas on Titan’s surface.
- The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency.
- It was the first Aircraft to orbit Saturn and first to land in the outer solar system and also first to sample an extra-terrestrial ocean of the planet.
- Cassini–Huygens is an unmanned spacecraft mission sent to the planet Saturn and being the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit.
- The design of spacecraft includes a Saturn orbiter and a lander for the moon Titan. The lander, called Huygens, landed on Titan in 2005.
The main objective of the mission is to study the planet Saturn its composition and the geological history of each object along dynamic behavior of the rings of Saturn.