News / Science & Technology

Cassini Probe Sees Nile-Like River on Saturn Moon

VOA News
An image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows a vast river system on Saturn's moon Titan. It is the first time images from space have revealed a river system so vast and in such high resolution anywhere other than Earth.The river valley crosses Titan's north polar region and runs into Ligeia Mare, one of the three great seas in the high northern latitudes of Saturn's moon Titan.An image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows a vast river system on Saturn's moon Titan. It is the first time images from space have revealed a river system so vast and in such high resolution anywhere other than Earth.The river valley crosses Titan's north polar region and runs into Ligeia Mare, one of the three great seas in the high northern latitudes of Saturn's moon Titan.
x
An image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows a vast river system on Saturn's moon Titan. It is the first time images from space have revealed a river system so vast and in such high resolution anywhere other than Earth.The river valley crosses Titan's north polar region and runs into Ligeia Mare, one of the three great seas in the high northern latitudes of Saturn's moon Titan.
An image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows a vast river system on Saturn's moon Titan. It is the first time images from space have revealed a river system so vast and in such high resolution anywhere other than Earth.The river valley crosses Titan's north polar region and runs into Ligeia Mare, one of the three great seas in the high northern latitudes of Saturn's moon Titan.
The international Cassini space probe, which has been orbiting Saturn and its moons since 2004, has sent detailed new images of a remarkable, Nile-like river valley on Saturn’s moon Titan. The river stretches more than 400 kilometers from its ‘headwaters’ and flows into a large sea.

It is the first time astronomers have seen a river system this large and in such high resolution anywhere beyond Earth, according to the European Space Agency.

Scientists believe the Titan river is filled with liquid because it appears in the high-resolution radar image to be dark along its entire length, indicating a smooth surface.

The river meanders at several points. But Jani Radebaugh, a Cassini radar team associate at Brigham Young University in the United States, believes the overall straightness of the river valley suggests it follows at least one major fault line, as do several other large rivers seen running into the same Titan sea.

“Such faults - fractures in Titan’s bedrock - may not imply plate tectonics, like on Earth," said Radebaugh, "but [they] still lead to the opening of basins and perhaps to the formation of the giant seas themselves.”

Titan is the only other world astronomers know of that has stable liquid on its surface. But instead of the water that drives Earth's hydrocycle, Titan's rivers, lakes, seas and oceans are filled with liquid hydrocarbons such as ethane and methane.

Cassini first confirmed the presence of liquid ethane in a lake called Ontario Lacus, in Titan’s southern hemisphere, during its 2008 flyby of the Saturnian moon.

The Nile-like river valley on Titan revealed in Cassini's newest high-resolution radar images were first observed in grainy photos sent back by the European Space Agency's Huygens probe, a separate craft that launched with Cassini in 1997 and descended to the moon’s surface in 2005.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA and ASI, the Italian space agency.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid