Lakes on Titan can suddenly explode

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn, which proved the existence of liquid. Unique outer body has a dense atmosphere, which consists mainly of nitrogen, and on the surface of this distant world from the Sun, consisting of water ice and sediments, always the lowest temperature is 170-180 degrees Celsius. Modern astrophysicists believe that Titan is very similar to the Earth in the early stages of development, which suggests that in cold waters of this satellite is the probability of the existence of the simplest forms of life. However, according to new research, a hypothetical life on Titan may be subjected to constant danger of being destroyed due to unusual features of the local atanova-methane reservoirs.

Some methane lakes height of the surrounding rim up to several hundred meters

How to look at the methane lakes on Titan?

Thanks to the latest data obtained from NASA spacecraft Cassini, scientists have a new scenario which explains the appearance of a high “rim” around the lakes filled with methane. According to some versions, the Titan can constantly blasts of heated nitrogen, which created pools of liquid gases in the crust of Saturn’s moon. In 1995, the telescope Hubble confirmed the theory of the existence of methane in liquid form on the surface of a space satellite.

At the moment Titan is the only solid body in our Solar system, where, besides Earth, has stable liquid on the surface. However, if on Earth the role of the base fluid, feeding all life is water, on Titan, this is the role of hydrocarbons — methane and ethane. The majority of the currently existing models that could explain the origin of the lakes of Titan, to prove that liquid methane can dissolve the bedrock ice and hard deposits of organic compounds, forming reservoirs, which are filled with fluid. Ponds formed in this way on Earth and dissolving the surrounding limestone, called karst lakes.

See also: What could be life on Titan?

There are also alternative models that explain the emergence of some small lakes, completely refute the underlying theory. So, a new alternative model suggests the existence of liquid nitrogen into the hot crust of Titan, capable of becoming explosive gas, exploding craters, which then filled with liquid methane. The newest model is able to fully explain why some small lakes near Titan’s North pole such as Winnipeg Lakus, has a very steep edge, which strongly dominate the sea level. Edges that are clearly visible on radar images, it is difficult are explained by the theory of the karst model.

Radar images confirmed the morphology of some lakes, which was most likely the result of a powerful explosion

According to radar data were collected using the Cassini Saturn Orbiter during the mission carried out by the jet propulsion Laboratory of NASA in California. During his final approach to Titan when the ship was preparing for its final immersion in the atmosphere of Saturn, the team was able to create images through which they received new data on the morphological peculiarities of the Satellite. The expedition learned that in addition to theory on the nitrogen explosions, there are at least another idea of the origin of such high rims around the lakes, taking into account seasonal climatic changes on Titan.

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According to scientists, over the last half a billion years, the methane in Titan’s atmosphere acted as a greenhouse gas that kept the atmosphere of the satellite is relatively warm. The result of this phenomenon, the satellite experienced several periods of cooling and warming, since methane is depleted under the influence of solar energy, and then again filled. In colder periods a nitrogen dominated atmosphere, appearing in the form of ice, and then gathering in puddles that were below the surface. When advancing warmer periods, liquid nitrogen is turned into steam, slowly eroding the crater and again, provoking an explosion on the surface of the satellite.

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