Study Says Craters On Titan, Saturn’s Moon Were Due To Nitrogen Explosion


According to a latest space research, the methane filled lakes on the largest moon of Saturn called the Titan were created due to explosions caused by pressurized nitrogen present under the surface. Research co-author, Jonathan Lunine said that the topographical features of Titan are quite different as there are lakes that have different shapes and in a lot of cases they even have sharp ridges.

A team of international scientists gathered together and examined the different lakes on the surface of Titan that features cratered sharp edges, steeps, ramparts and raised rims. Lunine said that in order to create an explosion, either gas is needed that can build enough pressure or a gas that can easily ignite with an explosion. He added that as Titan doesn’t possess oxygen, which is essential for a fiery explosion hence, explosion of pressurized nitrogen could be the reason behind the formation of the methane filled lakes. He said that craters were created first and then over the period of time they got filled with methane.

Apart from Earth, Titan is the only known celestial body that holds stable liquid on its surface. The surface of Titan is filled with lakes full of methane. In addition the atmosphere of Titan is filled with vaporized form of nitrogen.

According to the geophysical history of Titan, there have been times when its methane filled lakes went empty, leaving behind the nitrogen present in atmosphere. Over the time, nitrogen cools down and forms liquid nitrogen rains which gets filled into the pockets present under the surface of the moon. Titan is quite far from the sun due to which even a slight geologic heating can cause explosion of the pressurized liquid nitrogen. This forms craters that eventually get filled with methane over time. The images for this research were gathered from NASA’s Cassini mission that was the last flyby mission near Saturn.

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