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Ice feature on the giant moon of Saturn, Titan – ScienceDaily



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Rain, sea surface and erodes the organic material can be found on Earth, and on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. But on Titan with a & # 39 is methane rather than water, which fills the lake with muddy rain drops.

When trying to find the source of Titan's methane, University of Arizona researcher Caitlin Griffith and her team found that some unexoldpected – long ice feature that wraps almost halfway around Titan.

Griffith, a professor at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory UA RU, with & # 39 is the lead author on a paper published today in nature Astronomy.

Titan, atmospheric methane molecules continuously decompose under sunlight. As a result of atmospheric haze is deposited on the surface and accumulate as organic deposits, quickly depleting atmospheric methane.

The organic material includes veneer past atmospheres.

There is no obvious source of methane, except methane evaporation of the polar lakes. But Titan's lakes contain only one-third of the methane in Titan's atmosphere and will be exhausted in the near future on the geological time scale.

One theory is that methane can be provided underground tanks that venting methane into the atmosphere. Previous studies of Titan indicate the presence of a special area called Sotra, which looks like a cryo-volcano, with icy features of the flow.

Griffith's team went on to study the composition of Titan's surface, partly in the hope of finding thin small cryo-volcanoes candidates. They analyzed half the surface of Titan, and none was found, but the Erase proved exceptional in that it has the most powerful features of the ice.

However, the main feature of the ice researchers found was a complete surprise. It consists of a linear ice corridor which covers about 40 percent of the circumference of Titan.

"This ice corridor confused, because it does not correlate with any surface features, or measurements of the subsurface," said Griffith. "Given that our study and previous studies show that the Titan is currently volcanic activity, should the corridor, probably a relic of the past. We find this function on the steep slopes, but not on all slopes. This suggests that the ice corridor currently blurs, potentially revealing the presence of ice and organic layers. "

Team analysis also points to the diversity of organic material in some regions. These surface deposits are of interest because laboratory simulation of Titan atmosphere production of biologically interesting compounds, such as amino acids.

Griffith analyzed tens of thousands of spectral images obtained from the topmost surface layer Cassini visible and infrared mapping spectrometer using a method that allowed the detection of weak surface elements.

This feat has been accomplished by applying Griffith principal component analysis or PCA. This enabled it to scratch fine features, resulting from ice and organic deposits on the surface of Titan ubiquitous haze and more obvious surface features. Instead of measuring the surface elements individually for each pixel in the image, all pixels MS uses to recognize and thinner main signature.

Griffith team compared their results with previous studies, including the Huygens probe that landed on Titan in 2005 as a comparison, proven methodology and results. It is planned to use the technique to study the poles, where the sea is home to methane.

"And Titan and Earth have followed different evolutionary path, and both end up with a unique organic-rich atmospheres and surfaces," said Griffth. "But it is not clear from the & # 39 Titan and Earth are common drawings of organic-rich bodies or two of the many possible organic-rich worlds."

Part of the funds for this study came from outer space by NASA grants.

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materials provided University of Arizona. Note: The contents may be edited for style and length.

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