Latest weather reports from Titan, Saturn's moon

radar scanning method used usually for measurement of the density of snow caps on the Earth's poles, was used to analyze the state of the surface of the seas methane largest satellite planet Saturn, Titan. As a result of the analysis, scientists found that Titan's surface is "close to a mirror." Perhaps for those who hoped one day to curb the wave of hydrocarbons on his surfboard, it's bad news, but great for astronomers, because in the long term it can simplify the selection for planting a research probe to the satellite. You do not have to worry about dangerous waves and winds, which could damage the research unit.

Latest weather reports from Titan, Saturn's moon

The measurement work was carried out from the US team of researchers with the help of radar intelligence and statistical analysis included data collected by the spacecraft "Cassini" over the seas Ligei, Kraken and Punga located in the northern hemisphere of the satellite.

Earlier, the same method proved to be a very useful and effective in the measurement of the density of the Antarctic and Arctic ice, as well as when choosing a potential landing site for NASA space mission InSight on the Martian surface, which allowed specialists Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) NASA suggest that the method will be useful in the study of liquid stroking Titan.

Interest in Titan is quite understandable, since it is the only place in the solar system (besides Earth, of course), where the liquid is on the surface of a planetary object. Of course, basically super-cold sea and satellite lakes consist of hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane rather than warm tropical some water, but is particularly povybirat in such a situation? Even if we ignore the fact that the amount of hydrocarbon on the satellite is several hundred times higher than that of fossil fuels on the planet, a variety of organic materials in these seas can talk about the probability of the presence of a suitable for the origin of life chemistry. In addition, the satellite has a very dense hydrogen atmosphere and, quite possibly, even a weather system in which the presence of a hydrocarbon rain.

Between 2007 and 2015 the spacecraft "Cassini" has collected a huge amount of data on radioskanirovanii Titan, on the basis of which was built a very detailed map of the satellite sea surface which, as the last analysis, is almost as smooth as glass.

A new study offers a fresh look at the state of the approximate surface texture, confirming evidence that the waves in the seas of Titan is still there, but it is very tiny, which in turn allows to make some conclusions about the satellite winds.

"There is a great desire to go there one day to plant research probes. And to be sure that it really work, you need to make sure that the landing will be safe for the probe. In this case, you do not need powerful wind, "- he says a leading explore Cyril Grima of Geophysics University of Texas.

Grima calculated that at the time of observation spacecraft "Cassini" wave height for sea surface averaged about 6-10 millimeters in length at 45-115 millimeters and angles of inclination of 1, 1 to 2, 4 degrees. For more "extreme" as shown by the data, should produce landing Pung sea where the waves angle may be as much as 5 degrees. In general, as you can see, the weather on Titan is hardly severe.

"Our research shows that the waves on Titan's seas are very weak. Probably because of the wind there is also virtually no ", - he says Grim.

The waves on lakes and in the earth's oceans mainly caused by the movement of air streams that are in contact with the water surface, transmitting its kinetic energy particles. The motion of the air mass is the result of convection air movement caused by the heat of the solar light, some area of ​​the Earth's surface is heated more than others. Titanium, in turn, receives far less sunlight, has a dense cloud cover, so the relative absence of heat may explain these calm conditions on its surface. In addition, the molecules of liquid hydrocarbons and particles interact with each other otherwise.

Titanium can not be called a dead companion. It certainly happens a lot of interesting things. But since it is a very cold place, then all the processes it has slowed somewhat. Therefore, even the presence of small ripples on the surface of its seas is very exciting news for scientists.