Flooded canyons found on Saturn’s moon Titan: NASA
Washington: NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has discovered steep-sided canyons, hundreds of meters deep, on Saturn’s moon Titan that are flooded with liquid hydrocarbons.
The finding represents the first direct evidence of the presence of liquid-filled channels on Titan, as well as the first observation of the deep canyons, NASA said. Scientists analysed Cassini data from a close pass the spacecraft made over Titan in May 2013. During the flyby, Cassini’s radar instrument focused on channels that branch out from the large, northern sea Ligeia Mare.
The observations show that the channels – in particular, a network of them named Vid Flumina – are narrow canyons, generally less than a kilometre wide, with slopes steeper than 40 degrees.
The canyons also are quite deep – those measured are 240 to 570 metres from top to bottom. The branching channels appear dark in radar images, much like Titan’s methane-rich seas.