La mission épique Cassini de la NASA à Saturne génère toujours des données scientifiques précieuses plus de trois ans après sa disparition

Les données de l’un des derniers survols de Titan, une grande lune avec les précurseurs de la chimie de la vie, révèlent qu’un immense lac à la surface appelé Kraken Mare mesure plus de 300 meters deep – c’est à peu près l’équivalent de la hauteur du Chrysler Building de New York En fait, le lac est si profond que le radar de Cassini n’a pas pu sonder jusqu’au fond

In 2014, les données préliminaires de ce survol suggéraient que Kraken Mare mesurait au moins 35 meters deep but extended further; recently published results show that the lake is near 10 times deeper than this first estimate

Understanding the depth and makeup of Kraken Mare will gradually reveal more about Titan's mysterious chemistry., dominated by ethane and methane which accumulate in swimming pools, lakes and rivers on the surface, according to researchers. The importance of the lake derives from the immense size of Kraken Mare; if it was placed on Earth, it would cover the five Great Lakes of North America

“Squatting Mare… not only has a big name, but also contains about 80% moon surface liquids”, said study lead author Valerio Poggiali, research associate at Cornell University Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science. academic statement

Although Titan's chemistry is alien to that of Earth, the geography of the moon is reminiscent of the marshy or lake-rich regions of our planet. Titan is also the only known moon in our solar system to have a thick atmosphere. – a shroud of gaseous nitrogen, compared to the predominantly nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere of Earth.

This distinguishes Titan from the many moons in our solar system with thin exospheres or no atmosphere. (like the moon of the earth) and «frozen moons» potentially favorable to life where water ice covers an internal ocean – as on Jupiter's Europe or Saturn's Enceladus, which both throw water through ice into space

Data on Kraken Mare was collected during Cassini's 104th flyby on Titan in August 21 February 2014, about three years before engineers deliberately launched the aging spacecraft onto Saturn to avoid the small chance of accidentally contaminating the moon's surface

Kraken Mare was just one of the lakes on the mission's survey list for this flyby Researchers also wanted to examine Ligeia Mare – the site of a mysterious «magic island» that appears and disappears regularly – and a smaller estuary called Moray Sinus, that the researchers estimated 280 feet (85 m) depth, the equivalent of the height of the Statue of Liberty Cassini sounded the surface of the moon with his radar altimeter at about 600 miles (965 kilometers) distance

Scientists calculated the depth of the sea by determining how long it took for the radar signal to bounce off the surface of the liquid and the bottom of the sea, by comparing the difference between these depths and taking into account the composition of the liquid in the lakes, which absorbs part of the energy of the radar signal

The composition of Kraken Mare surprised scientists, as well as its depth It contains a mixture of methane and ethane, which differed from previous models, suggesting that ethane would prevail due to the size of the lake and the more distant geographic position from the moon's poles. Unexpected lake chemistry could help scientists better understand Titan's precipitation cycle, according to researchers

Scientists also hope to find out where liquid methane comes from on Titan Titan receives approximately 100 times less energy from the sun than the earth, since it is about 10 times further away

With low sunlight available, Titan converts methane in its atmosphere into ethane, but current models suggest that the moon should travel through all the methane on its surface in just 10 million years, a small fraction of the 4 5 billion years of our solar system

Engineers are working on a concept of a submarine that, if funded and approved by NASA, could be launched in the years 2030 to probe the Titan Lakes Poggiali said recently analyzed data from Cassini could help engineers “to better calibrate the sonar on board the ship and to understand the directional flows of the sea.”

A research-based study was published in December in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets

Saturn, natural satellite, Titan, Moon, Squatting Mare, metre, Terre

News – GB – The largest sea of ​​the mysterious moon of Saturn, Titan, could be over 1000 feet deep
Associated title :
The largest sea in Saturn&, the mysterious moon Titan, could have more than 1000 feet deep
The robot submarine could be used to explore the sea of ​​methane on Saturn's Moon& # 39; s Moon, say scientists
Scientists calculate that Titan, Saturn's largest moon, has a sea at 300 meters deep
Titan, Saturn's largest moon, has a sea depth of 300 m


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