NASA's Cassini Identifies Tallest Peak On Titan

Posted: Mar 25 2016, 9:48am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

NASA's Cassini Identifies Tallest Peak on Titan
The trio of ridges on Titan known as Mithrim Montes is home to the hazy Saturnian moon's tallest peak. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI
  • NASA's Cassini Identifies Tallest Peak on Saturn’s Largest Moon Titan

Earthlings received a recent pic of the highest mountain on Saturn’s moon. NASA seems to have done a good job in its exploratory drive.

Saturn’s moon Titan has a very tall peak which is 11,000 feet high. It juts out into the foggy sky of Titan like an alien object. The NASA Cassini spacecraft made some observations recently and the results came in the form of pics that finally reached earth.

The pics and radar images show that the promontory is a part of a range of mountains. This is called the Mithrim Montes. The extrusion is the tallest peak on the surface of Titan. The scientists made the announcement at a conference which took place in Texas awhile ago.

This is not only the highest point on Titan, it is the only one which could have possibly reached so far into the skies.

"It's not only the highest point we've found so far on Titan, but we think it's the highest point we're likely to find," said Stephen Wall, deputy lead of the Cassini radar team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

A large number of other peaks exist on Titan. Some of them are high enough but none can be compared to this one. Tectonic plates could be shifting beneath the moon’s surface and causing such tall promontories in the first place.

A deep analysis of the surface topography of Titan could yield much in the way of sound information. The forces that are acting on the land could be gauged via this method.

Yet what exactly causes Titan’s high mountains in the first place remains an enigma. The forces acting from both above and below are undoubtedly responsible for much of the upheaval.

Other explanations run the gamut from Saturn’s strong gravity to the cooling of the icy crust and its idiosyncratic rotation. Titan is enveloped by a thick haze of nitrogen like our planet earth. Also it is the only other heavenly body in the solar system to possess liquid stores on its surface.

"As explorers, we're motivated to find the highest or deepest places, partly because it's exciting. But Titan's extremes also tell us important things about forces affecting its evolution," said Jani Radebaugh, a Cassini radar team associate at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, who led the research.

However, its lakes and bodies of liquid consist of hydrocarbons instead of water. Yet it is a sign of hope that maybe in some crevice or nook or cranny some small amount of life remains.

Nevertheless, even if life does exist on Titan, it will be radically different from the kinds of flora and fauna found on our own spaceship earth. There may be liquid water buried deep beneath the surface of Titan. This fact may explain why the mountains are not as tall as they are on earth.

The NASA Cassini probe was launched in 1997. It reached Saturn by 2004. The observations made via this probe will go a long way in establishing new facts and data about Saturn’s moon Titan and its surface features.

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