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Liquid-Filled Canyons Discovered on Saturn's Moon Titan

Nov 03, 2016 05:36 AM EDT

Saturn's moon Titan is believed to have the 'right chemistry for life' and as studies progressed scientists are uncovering interesting facts about the moon including liquid filled canyons.

Researchers found out the Titan, Saturn's largest moon has liquid hydrogen-filled canyons. This makes the alien moon Earth-like. However, its rivers and canyons have methane content instead of water.

"Earth is warm and rocky, with rivers of water, while Titan is cold and icy, with rivers of methane. And yet it's remarkable that we find such similar features on both worlds," Alex Hayes, from Cornell University and team member of the new study said in an interview.

Based on the new findings, the canyons form a larger river network called Vid Flumina that has three river channels. The canyons are believed to be 0.8 kilometers (0.5 miles) wide and with a depth that might range from 244 meters (800 feet) and 579 meters (1,900 feet).

The veins of the river merge into the moon's largest sea called Ligeia Mare, which is also abundant of liquid methane hydrocarbons. This interesting new discovery prompted astronomers and scientists to dig deeper and further analyze the Earth-like systems found on Titan since there is not enough information available yet.

The flow and current of the liquid methane hydrocarbons need to be investigated further. In order to come up with the recent findings, the researchers analyzed the data gathered by NASA's Cassini spacecraft from 2013. Cassini measured Titan's topography. But despite the successful identification, the liquid-filled canyons continue to baffle the researchers and scientists. And they're also curious as to why the mysterious liquid-filled canyons are very Earth-like

"The canyons found in Titan's north are even more surprising, as we have no idea how they formed. Their narrow width and depth imply rapid erosion, as sea levels rise and fall in the nearby sea," Hayes said in another statement. "This brings up a host of questions, such as where did all the eroded material go?" Hayes added.

The usual Earth-borne canyons are already complex in nature, what more for the alien world's canyons with materials that are not typically found on Earth.


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