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Beyond Earthly Skies

Mountains on Titan

31 Oct 2013, 10:00 UTC
Mountains on Titan
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Titan is by far the largest moon in orbit around Saturn and the 2nd largest moon in the Solar System. It has a diameter of 5,152 km, making it nearly 1.5 times the size of Earth's Moon. Titan has a thick atmosphere and opaque haze layers obscure its entire surface. From inside out, the bulk of Titan is believed to be comprised of a partially differentiated interior of rock and ice, a high pressure ice layer (consisting of ice III, V, and VI), a subsurface ocean of liquid water and an outer ice I shell. Ice III, V, and VI are high pressure phases of ice which do not occur naturally on Earth. Ice I is basically normal ice and all naturally occurring ice on Earth is ice I.Figure 1: Saturn’s fourth-largest moon, Dione, can be seen through the haze of the planet’s largest moon, Titan, in this view of the two posing before the planet and its rings from an image taken by the Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.Figure 2: Artist’s concept showing a possible scenario for the internal structure of Titan, as suggested by data from the Cassini spacecraft.A thermal model of the interior of Titan developed ...

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