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Titan’s vast seas may drive methane cycle

Saturn moon’s methane-filled lakes contribute to process akin to hydrological cycle

By
1:00pm, March 12, 2015
Titan oceans

ALIEN OCEAN  Hydrocarbon seas on Titan, seen in this radar map from the Cassini probe, might help cycle methane through the environment, similar to the hydrological cycle on Earth.

Beneath the orange haze cloaking Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, it’s raining methane. While not much falls — a couple of meters every few centuries — it’s enough to fill seas 200 meters deep in the moon’s northern hemisphere (SN: 12/13/14, p. 13). 
 
Despite having an average temperature of about – 180° Celsius, Titan is the only world in the solar system other than Earth with liquid on its surface (SN: 1/25/14, p. 14). Researchers are starting to understand how the alien seas, mapped by the Cassini spacecraft, help drive a global process strikingly similar to Earth’s hydrological cycle.
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