Saturday, May 7, 2011

Could Saturn's largest moon Titan house a giant underground water ocean? - 7th May 2011

Saturn's largest moon Titan might house a huge underground ocean, according to scientists.

Researchers used radar aboard Nasa's Cassini spacecraft to see through Titan's dense atmosphere.

They found that, over a period of time, a number of prominent surface features shifted their position by up to 19 miles.

This suggests that Titan's crust is moving because it rests on liquid made of water and ammonia, the scientists said.

Aside from Earth, Titan is the only known world to have liquid on its surface. Confirmation of water under its surface would greatly increase the likelihood of the moon harbouring alien life.

The data transmitted back by Cassini also showed that Titan's axis of rotation was tilted by 0.3 degrees.

his appeared high to the researchers, given their estimate of its resistance to changes to its rotation.

The most likely explanation for its tilt is that Titan is not completely solid.

Rather it has an icy shell on top of a liquid water ocean, an icy mantle and an icy, rocky core, reported website AstroBio.net.

One unlikely reason that has been touted is that Titan is solid than is less dense near its centre than at its surface. Read More