The continent-size region Xanadu Regio shows as the large bright patch on the right, while bright methane clouds appear near Titan's south pole. Images taken in near-infrared wavelengths by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994 revealed a bright continent-sized region, later named Xanadu Regio, on Titan’s leading face. Saturn's moon Titan, in a mosaic of nine images taken by the Cassini spacecraft on October 26, 2004, and processed to reduce the veiling effects of the moon's atmosphere. Reflections of the Sun have been observed on the lakes that confirm that they are filled with liquids rather than ice or sand. This region was also discerned from Earth and from the Cassini spacecraft at radar wavelengths, which can penetrate the haze. Titan's dense atmosphere is opaque at most wavelengths, but Cassini's visible and infrared mapping spectrometer takes pictures at wavelengths in which the atmosphere is clear. Although no active volcanoes were observed by Cassini, landforms that may be ice volcanoes were discovered. No other world in the solar system, aside fro… In the 1990s, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope spied an area on Titan that was brighter than the rest. Here it is so cold (-290 degrees Fahrenheit or -179 degrees Celsius) that water ice plays the role of rock. Near-infrared colors, some three times redder than the human eye can see, reveal what lies beneath the clouds. The probe touched down on a frozen surface littered with rounded pebbles. The surface temperature and pressure of Titan’s surface is near methane’s triple point (the temperature and pressure at which a substance can coexist as a liquid, a solid, and a gas). The Cassini spacecraft discovered an extensive system of lakes filled with liquid hydrocarbons in the north polar region. Those lakes are the first stable bodies of surface liquid found off Earth! Some scientists believed the bright area could be a continent and the rest oceans, but no one knew for sure, until the arrival of Cassini-Huygens. The Cassini-Huygens mission revealed that Titan’s surface is quite young by planetary standards, with only a few large impact craters observed. As the Cassini spacecraft orbited Saturn, it made numerous observations during a series of close flybys of Titan beginning in late 2004. Scientists have found lakes of methane and other similar chemicals (called hydrocarbons) on Titan. But rather than water, with surface temperatures of around –180ºC, the fluid involved here is methane, a simple organic compound. Titan’s surface, like Earth’s, is sculpted by wind and probably also rain (in the form of liquid methane). Titan’s surface is sculpted by flowing methane and ethane, which carves river channels and fills great lakes with liquid natural gas. What are these bright and dark patches? Premium Membership is now 50% off. Over the years, scientists have dramatically changed their minds about Titan's surface.In the 1990s, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope spied an area on Titan that was brighter than the rest. “River” channels coated with dark hydrocarbon deposits are common, sometimes running along faults and sometimes with extensive tributary systems. During the two-and-a-half hour descent of Huygens under parachute, features that looked remarkably like shore lines and river systems on Earth appeared from the atmospheric haze. The largest seas are hundreds of feet deep and hundreds of miles wide. The lakes are mostly near … The Cassini-Huygens mission revealed that Titan’s surface is quite young by planetary standards, with only a few large impact craters observed. The surface is composed mainly of water ice, hydrocarbons, and possibly methane and ammonia ice. Titan may have volcanic activity as well, but with liquid water “lava” instead of molten rock. The surface of Titan is very, very cold: around -180° C (-355° F). On January 14, 2005, the Huygens entry probe became the first spacecraft to land on a planetary surface in the outer solar system, carrying out various physical and chemical measurements of Titan’s atmosphere and transmitting high-resolution images as it descended by parachute. Over the years, scientists have dramatically changed their minds about Titan's surface. Black Friday Sale! Thus, the role of methane on Titan may be similar to that of water on Earth; that is, it may be the principal agent behind erosion processes. The surface is composed of three major types of terrain: bright, rough regions that are similar to Xanadu Regio, dark regions that are rich in water ice, and dark regions that are covered by fields of dunes. A few large impact craters observed hydrocarbon deposits are common, sometimes running along faults and sometimes extensive! 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