Astronomers say they have discovered the highest mountain on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
The peak, which was studied using infrared images and data from NASA’s Cassini probe, stands some 3,337 meters high and is one of a trio of mountains NASA calls Mithrim Montes.
"It is not only the highest point we have found so far on Titan, but we think it is the highest point we are likely to find," said Stephen Wall, deputy lead of the Cassini radar team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Researchers said such high mountains on Titan has “suggests” tectonic activity on the moon.
"As explorers, we're motivated to find the highest or deepest places, partly because it's exciting. But Titan's extremes also tell us important things about forces affecting its evolution," said Jani Radebaugh, a Cassini radar team associate at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, who led the research.
"There is lot of value in examining the topography of Titan in a broad, global sense, since it tells us about forces acting on the surface from below as well as above," said Radebaugh.
NASA says Titan’s tallest peaks are located near the moon’s equator.
The probe also found that it rains on Titan enough to cause flowing rivers which further carve the moon’s topography, though NASA said erosion on Titan happens more slowly because it is so far away from the sun and therefore has less energy to “power erosive processes.”
Cassini has been providing information about Saturn and its moons for more than a decade, and Titan has proved to be among the most interesting bodies in the solar system, complete with what is believed to be an ocean of water under its icy crust.
The findings were presented at the 47th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference near Houston.