Rivers told the geological history of Titan



Photo: naked-science.ru

American geologists have shown that the surface of Titan is largely similar to Mars than earth.

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and the second largest in the Solar system. Its diameter is more than five thousand kilometers, about one and a half times larger than the moon. The scientific attractiveness of the object associated with the fact that the Titan is the only satellite with a dense atmosphere, the surface of which liquid is detected. Its seas and channels consist of a mixture of hydrocarbons, primarily ethane and methane. For example, Sea Kraken (Kraken Mare) in the Northern hemisphere exceeds the area of the Caspian sea (the largest closed body of water on Earth) is approximately 29 thousand square meters. Earlier traces of liquid water in the form of river channels were also found on Mars.

Existing methods of analysis of geological processes in space objects is limited . One of them is compared to the elevation of a celestial body with a map of rivers, this method was used to study the red planet’s surface. In the new work staff of the City University of new York, mit, University of California, Santa Cruz and other institutions have applied this technique to Titanium. In the first stage they made maps of the river channels on Titan, Mars and Earth, and then compared them with the topography. For this, the card flow, at different resolutions, superimposed on topographic maps to reflect changes to the landscape.

Example map of drainage and topological matching

Compare cards with a low resolution allowed us to determine the areas in which the current of the rivers was allegedly aimed upwards. The attitude of such sites to the total number the authors called “drainage and topographic conformity” (drainage conformity with topography). The results of the analysis showed that on Mars and Titan, this parameter is much higher than on Earth. According to researchers, this may indicate that the topography of Titanium was formed before the earth, and rivers, subject to the General slope of the tectonic plates, blazed a trail through the natural education through erosion. The opening can be used in the preparation of the Titan Saturn System mission (TSSM).

The article was published in the journal Science.

TSSM project of NASA and the European space Agency (ESA), whose goal stated the study of Saturn and its moons. According to plan, the spacecraft mission — one orbital and two re-entry module (balloon and lander) — will arrive in the vicinity of Saturn in 2029. After this module the Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) will descend to the surface of the Sea Lihei Titanium, and the balloon will continue to sail in its atmosphere. They obtained data by using improved in comparison with the station “Cassini” scientific instrument, will transfer to the orbital module. Within three to six months TiME to focus on finding the simplest hydrocarbon reservoir.

Previously, Cassini, which continues to make a flyby of Saturn in the last phase of life, showed the methane clouds of Titan.

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