Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Orbiting probe finds the 300-foot dunes of Saturn's moon Titan are eerily similar to Earth's

Nasa's Cassini probe has found that the dunes on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan vary in shape just like dunes on Earth - and even look similar to deserts on our planet.

The similarities end there, of course - not only are the dunes on Titan 300 feet high and up to a mile wide, they're made of frozen hydrocarbons - chemicals found in crude oil - rather than sand.

There are four million square miles of dunes on Titan, an area the size of the United States. Their formations could be key to understanding the clouded moon's mysterious weather patterns.

Analysis of images sent back by Nasa's orbiting Cassini probe found that the dunes form patterns similar to deserts on Earth.

The result gives new clues about the moon’s climatic and geological history.

Dune fields are the second most dominant landform on Titan, after the seemingly uniform plains, so they offer a large-scale insight into the moon’s peculiar environment. Read More