The Shores of Titan

A new composite image from Titan appears to show a shoreline where river channels or canyons empty into a black sea. Huygens took the image as it was drifting down toward the surface. Scientists have not yet been able to confirm whether or not the black sea-like region and apparent river channels are full of liquid.

Scientists also pieced together a full 360-degree panorama around Huygens as it drifted out over the black sea-like body. On the left are the channels and shoreline and just right of center is the spot where Huygens landed.

Unlike Mars, where old river beds are billions of years old and show little or no evidence of recent fluvial activity, evidence from the Titan landing site strongly suggest recent fluvial activity. Should scientists confirm that liquid currently exists on its surface, Titan would become only the second known body after the Earth to have such conditions. On Titan, however, the liquid would likely be methane or ethane, rather than water. Because of the extremely cold conditions on Titan, H20 there is solid and the primary mineral in the moon’s rocks.

Richard Leis

Richard Leis

Richard Leis (he/him/his) lives in Tucson, Arizona where he writes poetry and fiction, attends and teaches writing workshops at the Writers Studio Tucson, and works for HiRISE, a team in the Lunar & Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona with a camera in orbit around Mars onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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