Feeds

Cassini spies titanic lake on Titan

Bigger than Lake Superior

High performance access to file storage

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has revealed giant lakes on Saturn's moon Titan, one of which - at 39,000 square miles - is bigger than Lake Superior.

One of Titan's lakes compared with Lake Superior

The features were captured by Cassini's radar near Titan's north pole. Although scientists can't be certain they're actually liquid-filled, "their dark appearance in radar that indicates smoothness and their other properties point to the presence of liquids", as the NASA press release explains.

If that's so, then the lakes' contents are likely to be a mixture of ethanes and methane "given the conditions on Titan and the abundance of methane and ethane gases and clouds in Titan's atmosphere".

Dr Jonathan Lunine, Cassini interdisciplinary scientist at the University of Arizona, said: "We've long hypothesized about oceans on Titan and now with multiple instruments we have a first indication of seas that dwarf the lakes seen previously."

Cassini scientists are now planning a May flypast aimed at confirming the titanic Lake Superior is indeed filled with liquid. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.