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NASA Spotted Mysterious 'Impossible' Cloud on Titan Again

Sep 22, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
UNDATED: This undated NASA handout shows Saturn's moon, Titan, in ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. The Cassini spacecraft took the image while on its mission to. gather information on Saturn, its rings, atmosphere and moons. The different colors represent various atmospheric content on Titan.
(Photo : NASA via Getty Images)

A mysterious ice cloud appeared again on Titan's stratosphere and there is a possibility that the formation process of this mysterious cloud is similar with the ones seen over Earth's poles. According to NASA, this odd cloud discovered on Titan is made of a compound of carbon and nitrogen called dicyanoacetylene (C4N2), which creates colors on Titan's atmosphere.

What's up with this cloud is the fact that dicyanoacetylene cannot be found anywhere in Titan that it is already puzzlying on how this ice cloud is formed. The appearance of this cloud already happened decades ago, when NASA's Voyager 1 spotted it.

Now, Cassini spotted this strange cloud again, but this time, researchers are more keen to know on how the ice cloud forms in such an environmentwhere its element is not even present.

"The appearance of this ice cloud goes against everything we know about the way clouds form on Titan," said Carrie Anderson, a CIRS co-investigator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study.

As we all know, clouds are formed through the process of condensation. The cycle of evaporation and condensation on Earth is similar with Titan, only that except water, it is methane and this process of condensation happens on the troposphere of Titan.

Thus, the idea of "solid- state chemistry" came up to the researchers from the Earth's own process. Earth's own stratosphere has polar stratospheric clouds. These thin and wispy clouds will then come in contact with crystal ice water and pollutants such as CFC. A chemical reaction will result from this union, producing ozone-destroying chlorine that is not even available in the planet. This process might be similar to the formation of the strange cloud on Titan. Researchers are excited on this prospect, NASA reports.

Read More:
NASA May Send a Submarine to Saturn's Moon Titan
Canyons Flooded with Methane Found on Saturn's Moon

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