Tags: titan | mystery | mazes | saturn | moon

Titan Mystery Mazes: Geographical Features on Saturn's Moon Mapped

Image: Titan Mystery Mazes: Geographical Features on Saturn's Moon Mapped

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured images of some of Titan's labyrinths on a 2016 flyby. (NASA/JPL)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Jun 2017 08:58 AM

Saturn's moon Titan has mysterious mazes that crisscross its landscape for miles and bare some resemblance to geographical features on Earth and Mars.

New research into Saturn's largest moon stated that while maze-like structures only make up one percent of the moon's landscape, it carries similar appearances to Papua New Guinea and China, Space.com noted.

"When we first saw them, we knew the terrain was special," Michael Malaska, a planetary geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, told Space.com Monday. "Now we know pretty much where they all are."

The NASA spacecraft Cassini traveled to Titan to map its surface and study its atmospheric reactions and found liquid seas there. NASA said researchers think the internal, liquid ocean beneath Titan's surface is likely composed of water and ammonia.

Space.com reported that the mazes were first spotted during the Cassini mission in 2010. Malaska told the website that there are many spots on Titan that "look almost exactly like some of the places we have here on Earth."

The website said the labyrinth terrain on Puerto Rico where the Arecibo telescope is located is an example of the unique terrain that is similar to what researchers found on Titan. Space.com wrote that water carved out limestone caves and created channels and sinkholes, including the one that holds the telescope.

"The ones on Titan are way bigger," Malaska told Space.com, estimating that they are 10 times the size of where Arecibo is located.

NASA said Titan, which is the second-largest moon in the solar system, is 3,200 miles across; large enough to affect the orbit of other nearby Saturn moons. The moon's thick nitrogen-rich atmosphere hides its surface from view.

Space researchers think Titan's atmosphere is similar to early Earth atmosphere of long ago, and today is approximately 95 percent nitrogen with traces of methane, according to NASA.

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Saturn's moon Titan has mysterious mazes that crisscross its landscape for miles and bare some resemblance to geographical features on Earth and Mars.
titan, mystery, mazes, saturn, moon
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2017-58-14
Wednesday, 14 Jun 2017 08:58 AM
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