Saturn’s Moon Titan Has Liquid Ocean
July 1, 2012 1 Comment
New findings from NASA have scientists believing with strong evidence that Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has an underground ocean of water beneath it’s crust.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has pieced together data collected over five years that reveals Titan’s shape has changed about 10 meters, due to Saturn’s gravitational tugs. The best explanation for this is a liquid body of water relatively close to the surface. Scientists are still unsure if the subterranean ocean is feeding the lakes spotted on the moon’s surface. Scientists also say that Titan’s rocky core could be dehydrating, or it could be filled with warm ice.
The most likely explanation is that Titan has a liquid ocean between 50 and 100 kilometers (31 to 62 miles) beneath the surface says planetary scientist Jonathan Lunine. He also states, “The evidence for an ocean on Titan is nearly as good as the evidence for an ocean on Europa.”
Titan has now been placed in an elite class of objects that are uniquely qualified to possibly host life. The biggest question about Titan’s suitability for life is if the ocean touches rock, allowing a source of minerals and a pathway for heat which is necessary for organic life. If Titan’s water is sandwiched between layers of ice, it will leave it without access to minerals and temperature variations to initiate and maintain life.