Coastal Scene on Titan

Take a look at the image attached to this story. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were looking at a rugged coastline somewhere on Earth. Maybe some island in the Mediterranean, or Norwegian fjord. Nope, you’re looking at a completely alien world: Titan.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took this image on May 12, 2007 during its most recent flyby of Saturn’s largest moon. During the flyby, its radar instrument captured this image using its radar instrument. Smooth surfaces, like liquid are seen as black, while the textured regions are land.

While other bodies of liquid such as lakes have been seen on Titan before, nothing has had these kinds of features: channels, islands, bays, and other terrain you’d see on Earth. But instead of water, this liquid is probably a mixture of ethane and methane. Since there are no brighter regions in the liquid regions of the image, scientists are assuming the ocean exceeds tens of metres deep.

The image is about 160 kilometers (100 miles) by 270 kilometers (170 miles) across.

Original Source: NASA/JPL/SSI/ESA News Release