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University of Hawaii Team Unravels Origin, Chemical Makeup of Titan's Dunes

25 Oct 2019, 07:52 UTC
University of Hawaii Team Unravels Origin, Chemical Makeup of Titan's Dunes UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

Physical chemist Ralf I. Kaiser and fellow researchers examined remote sensing data regarding NASA's Cassini-Huygens mission to Titan--the only solar system body besides Earth with a solid surface, lakes and a thick atmosphere with a pressure of about 1.5 atmosphere at surface level. Images and data from Cassini-Huygens exposed the existence of vast longitudinal dunes on Titan's surface across the equatorial deserts reaching heights of up to 100 meters, close to the size of the Egyptian pyramids of Giza. Whereas Earth's dunes are made of silicates or the largest class of minerals, imaging studies revealed that Titan's dunes contain dark organics of until now undetermined origin and chemical composition.

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