New radar images indicate that Saturn's giant moon Titan contains lakes of liquid hydrocarbons. The finding provides the first compelling evidence for bodies of liquid on the surface of any object besides Earth, say the researchers who analyzed the images.
Located in Titan's north polar region, the lakes range in width from just under a kilometer to 32 km and extend up to 90 km. Titan's surface, at a frigid –180°C, is much too cold for liquid water. The lakes probably consist of methane, possibly mixed with ethane, says planetary scientist Stephen Wall of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
The lakes are a source of the methane gas that accounts for 5 percent of Titan's smoggy atmosphere,