The cover story of the current issue of the journal Nature features the discovery of lakes on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The craft's radar instrument found about 75 lakes some up to 40 miles across -- during a Titan flyby last summer, and scientists have analyzed the data, revealing an intriguing picture of an exotic world. While Earth's lakes are water, Titan's lakes most likely contain liquid methane and ethane. Like Earthly lakes, those on Titan have river-like channels feeding into them, as well as shorelines, possibly waves, and other familiar features.
More information on the Cassini mission is at www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov .
|Saturn: Lakes On Titan -- Audio Clips
Jan. 3, 2006
CUT 1 – DR. ELLEN STOFAN OF PROXEMY RESEARCH IN WASHINGTON IS ON THE CASSINI RADAR TEAM. SHE SAYS THAT, WHILE TITAN'S LAKES ARE PROBABLYCOMPOSED OF LIQUID METHANE AND ETHANE, IN OTHER WAYS, THEY'RE A LOT LIKE THE WATER LAKES FOUND HERE ON EARTH.
+ Play audio
Length: 14 seconds
Transcript: "They look very similar to lakes on Earth, they have channels feeding into them, just like you have rivers feeding into lakes on the Earth, the shapes of them, their shorelines, all of those geologic aspects of the lakes are actually very familiar."
2 - DR. ELLEN STOFAN EXPLAINS WHY SCIENTISTS ARE SO EXCITED BY THE DISCOVERY OF LAKES ON TITAN AND ITS PARALLELS TO EARTH.
+ Play audio
Length: 32 seconds
Transcript: "Titan is right now really the first body in the solar system that we've been to that has an active, fluid, liquid cycle. On the Earth here, it's the hydrologic cycle. We almost have to make up a new word for it on Titan, it's the "methane-ologic cycle." But it's the first place where you have rain, you have erosion, you have lakes, they probably vary seasonally. You know, obviously at some point in the past, Mars had that, but on Titan, it's happening right now, and that's extremely exciting from a scientific point of view."
+ Podcast: Lakes on Saturn's Biggest Moon