NASA’s Cassini spacecraft’s data has been of utmost use even after its demise. Cassini’s data have helped astronomers find out that Saturn’s moon, Titan, dotes similar features as that of our Earth.
Cassini spacecraft created a global map of the planet’s moon which combines all the topography data from various sources. The data revealed several new features, including new mountains on the surface of the moon, but none higher than 700 meters.
The map also shows the highs and lows of the moon’s topography, which helped the scientists to confirm that two locations on the surface, located in the equatorial region, are depressions that could either be ancient, dried seas, or cryovolcanic flows.
It is revealed that Titan is a little bit flat and more oblate, or flattened at the poles, than was formerly known. This suggests that the moon’s crust is thicker than thought previously.
Paul Corlies of Cornell University in US, said, “The main point of the work was to create a map for use by the scientific community.”
The data map is important and useful in modelling Titan’s climate, studying the moon’s shape and gravity, and testing major interior models.
Researchers also found out that Titan’s three seas share a common equipotential surface, that is, they form a sea level, just like the oceans on Earth do.
The oceans on Titan are all at the same elevation either because the channels between them allows enough liquid to pass through or because there is a flow through the subsurface between the seas.
Alex Hayes, assistant professor at Cornell University, said, “the vast majority of Titans lakes sit in sharp-edged depressions that look like you took a cookie cutter and cut out holes in Titans surface.”
The lakes are surrounded by hundreds of meters high ridges. The lakes are also topographically closed with no inflow or outflow channels.