STATES CHRONICLE – The Cassini spacecraft has been sent out in space to explore different cosmic objects in our galaxy. Lately, the spacecraft has been focusing its research on Saturn and its moons in particular. At the moment, Cassini has approached Titan, Saturn’s largest moon and it has identified the highest points of this moon.
According to the images and data, Cassini sent to NASA, Titan’s highest peak is 3,337 meters tall and can be found in a mountainous ridge called the Mithrim Montes. All of the peaks there, three in total, are approximately 3,000 meters tall.
Luckily, the Cassini probe has technology advanced enough and a radar that can see through the smog of the moon’s atmosphere and reveal pretty clear and detailed images of the surface. According to NASA scientists, this is most probably the highest point on Titan as they don’t believe they can find another one.
The moon’s tallest mountains are located near the equator. Some other peaks of similar height were found both in the Mithrim Montes as well as in Xanadu and some isolated peaks near the landing site of ESA’s Huygens spacecraft.
The peaks were found as a result of a search for active zones within the moon’s crust. In other words, NASA was looking for places where dynamic forces shaped the landscape, maybe similar to how our relief was formed. They were looking both for the highest peaks and the deepest places.
But the relief is not formed only by dynamic forces within the crust, but also by erosion made by wind or rain. It turns out that on Titan, just as on Earth, rain and rivers have also eroded the landscape. However, the process is a slower one than what happens on Earth. This is because the energy coming from the sun is too little to power erosive processes in the atmosphere of the moon, mainly because it is located ten times farther from the sun than the Earth.
Nevertheless, seeing that the landscape on Titan is mostly formed in a way similar to the landscape on Earth is a very interesting discovery and sheds light over how this moon has evolved in time. It also shows that some tectonic forces have also contributed to the process of forming mountains.
However, the existence of such tall peaks comes as a surprise because Titan is made up entirely of a huge ocean covered in ice so that NASA researchers will be looking further into the matter.
Image source: www.bing.com