NASA's Cassini spacecraft takes us on a guided tour of this mysterious lake on Titan.


[00:00:03] Titan is the only planetary body besides Earth
[00:00:07] that we know has lakes.
[00:00:08] At 290 degrees Fahrenheit below zero,
[00:00:11] the only liquid that makes sense there is a
[00:00:13] combination of methane and ethane.
[00:00:15] This lake is Ontario Lacus in Titan's southern hemisphere.
[00:00:20] It's a little smaller than Lake Michigan.
[00:00:21] We've colored the lake black because we think
[00:00:23] that's probably its real color, although we don't
[00:00:25] really know for sure.
[00:00:27] We've exaggerated the heights of the shoreline features
[00:00:30] to make them easier to see.
[00:00:31] Notice these hills? Probably made of water ice.
[00:00:33] See how the liquid has flooded up the valleys?
[00:00:36] Further north is a long, smoother beach
[00:00:39] that looks like it's been shaped by waves.
[00:00:41] You can see some lines along the beach
[00:00:42] that might be old shorelines, like bathtub rings.
[00:00:44] So we know the level of the lake has changed.
[00:00:47] Now we're turning east to a very obvious bay
[00:00:51] that cuts into the beach, so it's likely to be younger.
[00:00:55] We'll cross over the lake. You'll see some flooded valleys
[00:00:59] and in the background is a large river that makes a delta
[00:01:02] like the Mississippi river. Its shape means the lake
[00:01:04] is shallow and the river is slow.
[00:01:07] Ontario's shore is surprisingly like Earthly lake shores.
[00:01:11] Pretty amazing to find something this Earth-like,
[00:01:13] 800 million miles away.
[00:01:19] NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
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