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NASA revised their old theory about Titan (photo) after receiving new data from the Cassini Saturn Orbiter - a mission managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Lakes on the moon Titan of Saturn are & # 39; explosion craters & # 39; caused by heating nitrogen, NASA suggests after years of believing that they were formed by rock dissolution

  • Data from Cassini Saturn Orbiter offer different theories for the lakes
  • Presents heated liquid nitrogen, turns into explosive gas that blew craters
  • Apart from the Earth, Titan is the only planet in the solar system with stable liquid on the surface
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Methane lakes on the moon of Saturn, Titan, can & # 39; explosion craters & # 39; caused by heating nitrogen.

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That is according to experts from NASA, who have proposed an alternative to the long-standing theory that the lakes were formed by liquid methane that dissolves the underlying rock.

It comes after scientists have received new data from the Cassini Saturn Orbiter – a mission managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Their work presents a new scenario to explain why some of the methane-filled lakes are surrounded by steep edges that reach hundreds of feet high.

NASA revised their old theory about Titan (photo) after receiving new data from the Cassini Saturn Orbiter - a mission managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA revised their old theory about Titan (photo) after receiving new data from the Cassini Saturn Orbiter – a mission managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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Titan is the only planetary body in our solar system other than the earth that is known to have stable liquid on the surface.

Original theories suggested that these lakes were the result of liquid methane that dissolved the ice from the moon, cut reservoirs that filled with the liquid, just like the earth karstic lakes.

The new, alternative model turns that idea upside down: it suggests bags of liquid nitrogen in the heated Titan crust and turned into explosive gas that blew out craters and then filled with liquid methane.

WHAT IS THE CASSINI-HUYGENS MISSION?

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a collaboration between NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency.

JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages the mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL has designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter.

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The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian space agency, in collaboration with team members from the US and various European countries.

This explains why some of the smaller lakes in the vicinity of the North Pole of Titan, such as Winnipeg Lacus, have very steep edges on radar images that extend above sea level.

These rims were difficult to explain with the previous model, which suggested that the holes were created by fluid flowing in, which would probably create smoother, flatter rims.

However, gas blasting can be responsible for producing these rougher peaks with extreme force that push the rock up.

An international team of scientists led by Giuseppe Mitri from the Italian university G. d & # 39; Annunzio made the discovery after researching the new images.

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& # 39; The edge goes up and the karst process works in the opposite way, & # 39; said Mitri.

& # 39; We found no explanation that would suit a karstic lake basin. In reality, the morphology was more consistent with an explosion crater, with the edge formed by the material ejected from the interior of the crater. It is a very different process. & # 39;

The moon of Saturn, Titan, is the only planetary body in our solar system except the earth that is known to have stable liquid on the surface

The moon of Saturn, Titan, is the only planetary body in our solar system except the earth that is known to have stable liquid on the surface

The moon of Saturn, Titan, is the only planetary body in our solar system except the earth that is known to have stable liquid on the surface

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a collaboration between NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency.

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JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages the mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL has designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter.

The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian space agency, in collaboration with team members from the US and various European countries.

The study is published in Nature Geosciences, this week.

WHAT DOES CASSINI DISCOVER DURING ITS 20 YEARS MISSION AT SATURN?

Cassini launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1997, and then spent seven years on transportation followed by 13 years in orbit around Saturn.

An artist & # 39; s impression of the Cassini spacecraft studying Saturn

An artist & # 39; s impression of the Cassini spacecraft studying Saturn

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An artist & # 39; s impression of the Cassini spacecraft studying Saturn

In 2000 he spent six months studying Jupiter before reaching Saturn in 2004.

At that time, it discovered six more moons around Saturn, three-dimensional structures that towered above Saturn's rings, and a gigantic storm that raged over the planet for almost a year.

On December 13, 2004, it made its first flyby of Saturn & # 39; moons Titan and Dione.

On December 24, the Huygens probe, built by the European Space Agency, released Titan from Saturn on the moon to study the atmosphere and composition of the surface.

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There it discovered frightening hydrocarbon lakes made from ethane and methane.

In 2008, Cassini completed its primary mission to explore the Saturn system and began its mission expansion (the Cassini Equinox mission).

In 2010 it started its second mission (Cassini Solstice Mission) that lasted until it exploded in the atmosphere of Saturn.

In December 2011, Cassini obtained the highest resolution images of the moon Enceladus of Saturn.

In December of the following year, it followed the transit of Venus to test the feasibility of observing planets outside our solar system.

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In March 2013, Cassini made the last flyby of the moon Rhea of ​​Saturn and measured the internal structure and gravity.

Cassini not only studied Saturn - it also captured incredible views of the many moons. In the image above the moon Enceladus of Saturn can be seen floating in front of the rings and the small moon Pandora. It was captured on November 1, 2009, with the entire scene illuminated by the sun

Cassini not only studied Saturn - it also captured incredible views of the many moons. In the image above the moon Enceladus of Saturn can be seen floating in front of the rings and the small moon Pandora. It was captured on November 1, 2009, with the entire scene illuminated by the sun

Cassini not only studied Saturn – it also captured incredible views of the many moons. In the image above the moon Enceladus of Saturn can be seen floating in front of the rings and the small moon Pandora. It was captured on November 1, 2009, with the entire scene illuminated by the sun

In July of that year, Cassini captured a black-lit Saturn to examine the rings in detail and also captured an image of the earth.

In April this year, it completed its closest Titan flyby and started its Grande Finale course, which ended on September 15.

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& # 39; The mission has changed the way we think where life has evolved beyond our earth & # 39; said Andrew Coates, head of the Planetary Science Group of Mullard Space Science Laboratory at University College London.

& # 39; In addition to Mars, outer planet moons such as Enceladus, Europe and even Titan are now top perspectives for life elsewhere, & # 39; he added. & # 39; We have completely rewritten the textbooks on Saturn. & # 39;

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