easy to PCA
The new method is called principal component analysis (PCA), and it can be a game-changer in the Titan-ophiles. Instead of studying the individual pixels with Cassini images and searching their details and data, the PCA is looking at all the pixels in the area to determine trends in the landscape. This not only leads to a more refined data, but is significantly less time than the leading alternatives that really should go to a single pixel at a time.
In order to test their new tool and try to answer questions about why some areas of rocky ice exposed in the first place, an international team of researchers PCA applied to half the surface of Titan, from 30 ° C to 30 ° N. The They were intended for the tropics partly because it has relatively good data from the field, including a first-hand from the Huygens lander. This made it easy to check their results.
After everything was correlated and indeed found to be accurate, the team was left with the distribution of hi-def water ice on Titan. And oddly enough, the authors write that is formed in a noticeable pattern. "Our research indicates that the PCA water ice unevenly, but not accidentally, exposed throughout the tropical surface of Titan. Most of the exposed ice material followed by a long, almost linear, corridor, stretching 6,300 (km) ", or about 4,000 miles (6,400 km). That's about 40 percent of Titan's circle. And for reference, the United States extends less than 3000 miles (4800 km) from coast to coast.