Since then, as the probe Cassini entered the Saturn system in July 2004, scientists and the General public has received a steady stream of data from the ringed giant and its many wonderful companions. In particular, special attention was paid to the largest Saturn’s moon Titan, which has many similar properties to earth. Among the nitrogen-rich atmosphere, the presence of liquid water reservoirs on the surface, dynamic climate, organic molecules, active prebiotic chemistry.
In the latest revelation, which came with the Orbiter “Cassini”, it was also known that Titan is experiencing periodic dust storms. It puts him in the same class of such celestial bodies as the Earth and Mars — more such storms, we haven’t seen anywhere else.
What’s Titan like Earth?
“Titanium is a very active moon,” says Sebastian Rodriguez, an astronomer from IPGP, University of Paris Diderot, the lead author of the work. “We already know quite a bit about its Geology and exotic hydrocarbon cycle. Now you can add another analogy with the Earth and Mars: an active dust cycle, in which organic dust rising from a huge dune fields near the equator of Titan.”
Scientists also know that Titan is the only body in the Solar system, other than Earth, the surface of which there are ponds, though not with water. As on Earth, the liquid rises into the atmosphere and falls to the Ground. Only instead of water, Titan this entire process is methane and ethane. Examining the three unusual spots in the Equatorial region of Titan, the team Rodriguez first took them for methane clouds. But it turned out that it is quite another.
“From what we know about the formation of clouds on Titan, we can say that these methane clouds in this area and at this time of year is physically impossible.” Also it could not be frozen flows of lava or methane rain. There is only one explanation: because the bright spots found directly above the dune fields near the equator of Titan, which consist of tiny solid organic particles, it could only be clouds of dust.
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