Home > Astronomy, Cassini, Saturn, Solar System, Spaceflight, Unmanned Spaceflight > New Cassini Data From Titan indicate A Rigid, Weathered Ice Shell

New Cassini Data From Titan indicate A Rigid, Weathered Ice Shell


An analysis of gravity and topography data from Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has revealed unexpected features of the moon’s outer ice shell. The best explanation for the findings, the authors said, is that Titan’s ice shell is rigid and that relatively small topographic features on the surface are associated with large roots extending into the underlying ocean. The study is published in the August 29 issue of the journal Nature.

Led by planetary scientists Douglas Hemingway and Francis Nimmo at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the study used new data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The researchers were surprised to find a negative correlation between the gravity and topography signals on Titan.

“Normally, if you fly over a mountain, you expect to see an increase in gravity due to the extra mass of the mountain. On Titan, when you fly over a mountain the gravity gets lower. That’s a very odd observation,” said Nimmo, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz.

Full Story: http://news.ucsc.edu/2013/08/titan-ice-shell.html

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