Saturn’s Moon Titan Has Placid Lakes Just Right For Future Missions To Land Smoothly
Titan’s liquid-hydrocarbon lakes and seas are really calm, a recent study has found out. The findings indicate that future missions to Saturn’s huge moon could have a smooth ride to the surface.
According to NBC News, the three largest lakes in the northern hemisphere of Titan have tiny waves. They measure only about 1 centimeter in height and 20 centimeters in length. Moreover, the lakes of the moon are full of ultra-cold liquid methane and ethane. This indicates that the lakes are adequately placid for spacecraft to land on during future missions.
"There is a lot of interest in one day sending probes to the lakes, and when that is done, you want to have a safe landing, and you do not want a lot of wind," study lead author Cyril Grima said in a statement, as Gizmodo reported. "Our study shows that because the waves aren't very high, the winds are likely low."
Grima and his team studied data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft to get a better understanding about three lakes of Titan -- Punga Mare, Ligeia Mare and Kraken Mare. Incidentally, Kraken Mare is as large as the Caspian Sea and Ligeia Mare is larger than Lake Superior and could hold over 50 times the oil reserve of Earth. Some scientists are even of the opinion that the lakes and seas of Titan could have the ability to host life; however, that life form would be different from the water-dependent ones found on Earth.
At the moment, there are no specific plans to send a mission to Titan but researchers are exploring ideas about working on submarines and boats that could investigate the moon’s seas. Incidentally, the surface of Titan has been visited once in 2005 when the Huygens lander was deployed from the Cassini spacecraft.