NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft spots Mysterious Feature on Saturn’s Moon Titan

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft spots Mysterious Feature on Saturn’s Moon Titan

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA)Cassini spacecraft,orbiting Saturn, has spotted a mysterious hydrocarbon sea on the surface of Titan, largest moon of Saturn. The strange feature has appeared in the Ligeia Mare, a sea in the north polar region of Titan.Cassini's radar has observed the sea twice, but according to NASA scientists, the feature's appearance has not been the same.

The mysterious feature has covered an area of about 100 square miles of the sea, and appears as bright spot against sea's black background. In July 2013, Cassini spacecraft had observed the feature during aflyby in the Ligeia Mare. According to scientists, they previously had not seen the bright feature in the sea. They have observed the feature by using Cassini's radarand infrared imager.

After the feature's disappearance,Cassini team had suggested that the mysterious feature was ephemeral. But in August 2014, Cassini had again spotted the feature in the sea. According to the scientists, the feature had been spotted on the same place, but its appearance had changed.

The deputy team leader of Cassini's radar team, Stephen Wall, said, "We have a thrilling example of ongoing change on Titan.We're hopeful that we'll be able to continue watching the changes unfold and gain insights about what's going on in that alien sea".

According to Cassini team, the feature is not any flaw in the observation. The team has also stated that the feature is not an islandemerging fromLigeia Mare due to evaporation.

The Cassini team said that the feature could be solids floating on the surface of the sea or could be raising bubbles. According to the scientists, feature's presence could be linked to Titan's seasons. They said that Cassini will continue to monitor Ligeia Mare to know more about the feature.


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