Cassini Spots Mini Nile River on Saturn Moon


Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI

The international Cassini mission has spotted what appears to be a miniature extraterrestrial version of the Nile River: a river valley on Saturn’s moon Titan that stretches more than 400 km from its ‘headwaters’ to a large sea. It is the first time images have revealed a river system this vast and in such high resolution anywhere beyond Earth.

Scientists deduce that the river is filled with liquid because it appears dark along its entire extent in the high-resolution radar image, indicating a smooth surface.

“Though there are some short, local meanders, the relative straightness of the river valley suggests it follows the trace of at least one fault, similar to other large rivers running into the southern margin of this same Titan sea,” says Jani Radebaugh, a Cassini radar team associate at Brigham Young University, USA. “Such faults – fractures in Titan’s bedrock – may not imply plate tectonics, like on Earth, but still lead to the opening of basins and perhaps to the formation of the giant seas themselves.”

Full Story: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cassini_spots_mini_Nile_River_on_Saturn_moon
Also: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-394

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