Most complete map of Titan reveals connected seas and cookie-cutter lakes | Science News

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Most complete map of Titan reveals connected seas and cookie-cutter lakes

Latest Cassini data help fill in details about Saturnian moon’s surface

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12:40pm, December 8, 2017
Titan map

NORTHERN LAKES  Radar images of Titan’s poles show lakes that may form like Earth’s sinkholes. A new topographic map suggests these hydrocarbon lakes may be connected through Titan’s equivalent of groundwater.

Liquid methane and ethane flow through a subterranean plumbing system on Titan, which drains lakes and connects seas. That’s one of the first scientific results from the latest, most complete map of the Saturnian moon’s topography.

Planetary scientist Paul Corlies of Cornell University and colleagues released the map — based on all the data from NASA’s Cassini mission, which ended in September (SN Online: 9/15/17) —  in Geophysical Research Letters on December 2.

Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, hosts seas, lakes, clouds and rain — all composed of hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane instead of water. The elevations of seas and mountains across 9 percent of Titan’s surface were directly recorded by Cassini as

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