Feeds

Could there be lakes on Titan?

Hoist the mainsail...

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

New radar maps of Titan appear to show that the moon has surface lakes dotted around its northern pole. No solar system object other than Earth has been shown to have standing bodies of liquid on its surface, so the discovery is remarkable.

Titan's lakes would not, of course, be full of water. They would almost certainly be some kind of hydrocarbon - most likely methane or ethane.

The radar maps show dark patches with channels leading in and out of them. Some of the patches are completely black to radar, indicating they are extremely smooth. Others have rims around the edges, suggesting liquid has been evaporating, leaving a deposit behind.

The top image above shows a region around 260 miles by 93 miles. The lower of the two is slightly longer: 295 miles by 93 miles, according to the boffins at NASA's JPL.

Scientists have speculated for some time that liquid methane might exist in Titan's colder polar regions. If these are bodies of liquid, they should change over time - becoming smaller or larger, or even rougher as winds create waves on their surfaces. If they are lakes, this kind of thing should show up in future images of these areas. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.