Lakes, wind-swept dunes and plateaus. All this and more on Saturn's moon Titan.


Greetings and Happy new year from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. My name is Douglas Equils, one of the Cassini science system engineers here with the latest news from Saturn. But first, imagine yourself standing on the shore of an alien world looking out across a lake filled with methane and ethane.

This is one of the latest discoveries that Cassini has made as it attempts to piece together the clues of Saturn's mysterious world, Titan. Since our last update, Cassini flew past Titan on December 28th of last year in an attempt to determine if Titan had a subsurface ocean. Analysis is still underway, but we can't wait for the results. As you can see from this false color image that recently appeared in the journal of Nature, the radar team has unveiled nearly a hundred lakes near Titan's north pole.

During another recent flyby of Titan, Cassini also uncovered what appeared to be wind swept dunes and dissected plateaus near Titan's equator. While chemically very different, these dunes appeared very similar to the dunes we see in the deserts here on Earth. Looking to the future, Cassini will sail past Titan on January 13th of this year, attempting to capture images that have never been seen before from Titan's northern latitudes.

Cassini will also image another area on the Titan surface called" Ganesa Macula", that was believed to be an icy volcanic dome created by water and ammonia that seeped up from the surface and formed a pancake like structure. Exciting things are on Saturn's horizon, so stay tuned.

This is the news from Cassini. I'm Douglas Equils from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
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