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.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).