Recently, astronomers at Cornell University in Ithaca, USA, published a survey in the Journal of Geophysical Research in which they claim that the sea of liquid methane on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, is at least 300 meters deep at its central point .
The discovery, made after examining data from one of the Cassini mission’s final flyovers over the gas moon, opens up the possibility of exploring the site, known as the Kraken Mare, by a robotic submarine.
The main author of the research, Valerio Poggiali, explains that the composition of all of Titan’s seas had already been measured, except that of the Kraken Mare, the largest on the moon, with about 80% of its surface entirely liquid. The Cassini T104 made it possible to measure the depth of the seas, using its radar altimeter.
Measuring the depth of Titan’s seas
The team measured the depths of the Moray Sinus and Kraken Mare seas, recognizing the amount of radar energy absorbed during the return of its signal through the liquid. Moray Sinus revealed a depth of about 85 meters, while the Kraken proved too deep to be measured by the altimeter, leading to an estimate of 300 meters.
The measurements took place on August 21, 2014, at an altitude of almost 1,000 kilometers above the surface of Titan, when Cassini orbited the natural satellite at a speed of 21,000 km / h. NASA observers say that, seen through clouds, Titan looks similar to Earth, with rivers, lakes and seas.