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Beyond Earthly Skies

The Throat of Kraken

12 Jun 2014, 22:00 UTC
The Throat of Kraken NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS
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Over the years, radar observations by NASA's Cassini spacecraft show that Titan's north polar region has 3 bodies of liquid large enough to be identified as 'seas'. These seas hold liquid methane and ethane instead of water. Titan is so cold that water is rock-solid here. The discovery of seas on Titan shifts extraterrestrial oceanography from a merely theoretical science to an observational science. Apart from Earth, Titan is the only other object known in the Solar System with surface bodies of liquid.Kraken Mara is the largest of the 3 seas on Titan. The other 2 seas are Ligeia Mare and Punga Mare. Kraken Mare is divided into two principal basins connected by a channel measuring ~17km wide and ~40km long. Referred to as the 'throat', the channel has a NE to SW orientation. To its west is a labyrinth of narrower channels and islands. The 'throat' is somewhat comparable in size with the Strait of Gibraltar on Earth and geomorphologically similar to the Ă…land strait between the Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic Sea.Figure 1: A radar image of Kraken Mare, Titan's largest sea. At ~400,000 km^2, Kraken Mare is believed to be larger than the Caspian Sea on ...

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