Largest Sea On Titan, Saturn’s Largest Moon, Estimated To Be Over 1,000 Feet Deep

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It has recently come to light that Cornell scientists have estimated that “Kraken Mare”, a sea of liquid methane that’s located on the Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is at least 1,000 feet deep near its center. The details of the findings have been published by the researchers in “The Bathymetry of Moray Sinus at Titan’s Kraken Mare,” study in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

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As reported by Cornell Chronicle, researchers went through the data collected from one of the final Titan flybys of the Cassini mission. The spacecraft’s radar surveyed Ligeia Mare – a smaller sea in the moon’s northern polar region to discover “mysteriously disappearing and reappearing Magic Island”.

It states that when Cassini cruised at 13,000 mph nearly 600 miles above Titan’s surface, it used its radar altimeter to measure the liquid depth at ‘Kraken Mare’ and ‘Moray Sinus’, an estuary located at the northern end of Titan’s Kraken Mare.

The Cornell scientists and engineers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, had figured out how to measure lake and sea bathymetry by looking at the radar’s return time differences on the liquid surface and sea bottom.

They also looked at the sea’s composition by analyzing the amount of radar energy absorbed during transit through the liquid. Scientists discovered that Moray Sinus is about 280 feet deep, which is shallower than the depths of central Kraken Mare, making it too deep for the radar to measure.

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“The depth and composition of each of Titan’s seas had already been measured, except for Titan’s largest sea, Kraken Mare – which not only has a great name but also contains about 80% of the moon’s surface liquids,” mentioned lead author Valerio Poggiali, a research associate in Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science (CCAPS), in the College of Arts and Sciences.

He further added that “understanding the depth and composition of Kraken Mare and the Moray Sinus is important because this enables a more precise assessment on Titan’s methane hydrology”.

Image used is for representation purpose only

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