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Saturn's orange moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth. The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes.
If space travelers ever visit Saturnâ€™s largest moon, they will find a tropical world where temperatures plunge to minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit, methane rains from the sky and dunes of ice or tar cover the planetâ€™s most arid regions. These conditions reflect a cold mirror image of Earthâ€™s tropical and subtropical climates, according to scientists at the University.
Scientists report definitive evidence of the presence of lakes filled with liquid methane on Saturn's moon Titan in this week's journal Nature cover story.
The discovery of methane lakes and a "methanosphere" on Saturn's moon Titan raises a question: is a frozen moon orbiting a giant gas planet Earth's closest analog in the solar system?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It has methane rain and white crystalline sand dunes, and now scientists say Saturn's moon Titan also has many lakes.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has found lakes on Saturn's moon Titan.
Until a couple of years ago, scientists thought the dark equatorial regions of Titan might be liquid oceans. New radar evidence shows they are seas -- but seas of sand dunes like those in the Arabian or Namibian Deserts.
Recent evidence from the Huygens Probe of the Cassini Mission suggests that Titan, the largest moon orbiting Saturn, is a world where rivers of liquid methane sculpt channels in continents of ice. Surface images even show gravel-sized pieces of water ice that resemble rounded stones lying in a dry riverbed on Earth.
In this, the second part in a four-part series, McKay talks about Titan's mysterious clouds, some of which are thought to appear only briefly every 15 years.
Saturn's moon Titan has long been a place of interest to astrobiologists, primarily because of its apparent similarities to the early Earth at the time life first started. A thick atmosphere composed primarily of nitrogen and abundant organic molecules (the ingredients of life as we know it) are among the important similarities between these two otherwise dissimilar planetary bodies.
- To swell, as grain or wood with water.