Saturn's strange moon Titan many of his secrets hang layers and layers of thick haze, but scientists have now peered through the haze in a new way – and spotted a massive stretch of water ice to boot.
That ice block stretches across nearly half of Titan's girth. The feature is likely to indicate that they are likely to fail. NASA's Cassini spacecraft which spent 13 years studying the Saturn system and made more than 100 flybys of the massive moon before self-destructing in September 2017.
"It's a Cassini data for new results, "Jani Radebaugh, a planetary scientist at Brigham Young University in Utah. Saturn's Moon Titan May Have 'Phantom Lakes' and Caves ] Scientists want to understand Titan because its features provide eerie twist on the planet we know and love so well. The moon has a thick, nitrogen-rich atmosphere, and liquid rain on its surface to fill lakes and seas . But those liquids are made in a part, of water ice. It's weird.
"What we're curious about is beyond the global gentle snowfall of organics, what's happening?" Radebaugh said.
The new research uses a statistical approach called principal component analysis, which lets the scientists look past the most dominant features in the data ̵
The idea to say 'Let's try to get a global sense of what's going on in the world.' Caitlin Griffith, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, told Space.com.
Principal component analysis allowed Griffith and her colleagues do it that "We need a method for measuring these very, very weak features and try to pull out information from these features." Griffith said: "We are looking for very subtle features that are hidden behind bigger features." Water ice was visible at the surface .
Some of the regions where the team found themselves were expected to collapse large cryovolcano that once erupted liquid water across Titan's surface and around impact craters where meteorites dug into the moon's surface. 3,900 miles (6,300 kilometers) long –
"There's nothing wrong with that." you look at the landscape, "Radebaugh said.
Griffith said she is not sure yet what the massive line of ice, which she compares to a scar, represents – it wants to take more research to pin down what left the ice uncovered on the surface of titanium. Titan in the past but we do not know what it is, "she said.
Radebaugh said: "It seems like the result of a massive faulting – cracking – event that violated a stretch of water-ice and left it uncovered.
" Tectonism on Titan in some ways has taken a little bit of a back seat just because we see all of these surface processes – the fluid flow, the erosion, the wind deposits, and all those kinds of things, "Radebaugh said.
But these are the things that happen. The research is described in a paper published today (April 29) in the journal Nature Astronomy. Meghan Bartels at email@example.com or follow her @meghanbartels . Follow us on Twitter @ Spacedotcom and on Facebook .