This colorized radar view from Cassini shows lakes on Titan. Punga Mare is just left of center. The dry lakes have margins or rims and a radar brightness similar to the rest of the surrounding terrain, making them appear devoid of liquid. Bubble outburst events are predicted to occur as the lakes cool and subsequently warm or whenever methane-rich fluids mix with ethane-rich ones due to heavy rainfall. [12] Overall, the Cassini radar observations have shown that lakes cover only a few percent of the surface and are concentrated near the poles, making Titan much dryer than Earth. [42] Cassini has observed equatorial rainstorms only once since 2004. Methane tends to evaporate quickly, so scientists think the lakes must be dominated by methane's sister hydrocarbon ethane, which evaporates more slowly. [26] Temperatures close to the freezing point of methane (90.4 Kelvins/-296.95 F) could lead to both floating and sinking ice - that is, a hydrocarbon ice crust above the liquid and blocks of hydrocarbon ice on the bottom of the lake bed. [20] The exact blend of hydrocarbons in the lakes is unknown. [53] However, it was turned down in August 2012, when NASA instead selected the InSight mission to Mars. Saturn’s largest moon Titan is the only world in our solar system besides Earth known to have bodies of liquid on its surface. Ligeia Mare is at top; Punga Mare is below it and Kraken Mare is to its lower right. "Our study shows that because the waves aren't very high, the winds are likely low," says Grima. Ligeia Mare is the large body at lower right. Recent radar images show that Saturn’s moon Titan has lakes, too. Both are named after lakes on Earth. ", "Experiments Show Titan Lakes May Fizz with Nitrogen", "Cassini/VIMS observes rough surfaces on Titan's Punga Mare in specular reflection", "Spacecraft spots probable waves on Titan's seas", "Surface roughness of Titan's hydrocarbon seas", "Saturn moon's mirror-smooth lake 'good for skipping rocks, "Smoothness of Titan's Ontario Lacus: Constraints from Cassini RADAR specular reflection data", "Glint of Sunlight Confirms Liquid in Northern Lake District of Titan", "Cassini VIMS sees the long-awaited glint off a Titan lake", "New Images from the Huygens Probe: Shorelines and Channels, But an Apparently Dry Surface", "Tropical Methane Lakes on Saturn's Moon Titan", "Tropical Titan: Titan's Icy Climate Mimics Earth's Tropics", "New Computer Model Explains Lakes and Storms on Titan", "Icy Aquifers on Titan Transform Methane Rainfall", "Possible explosion crater origin of small lake basins with raised rims on Titan", "New Models Suggest Titan Lakes Are Explosion Craters", "Titan Mare Explorer (TiME): The First Exploration of an Extra-Terrestrial Sea", "NASA will send robot drill to Mars in 2016", Map of Titan's north polar liquid bodies with feature names,, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Indications are that it is an intermittent, This page was last edited on 16 November 2020, at 03:07. Did the lake on Titan evaporate or freeze? Did the lake on Titan evaporate or freeze? [23] However, the chemical composition and physical properties of the lakes probably varies from one lake to another (Cassini observations in 2013 indicate Ligeia Mare is filled with a ternary mixture of methane, ethane, and nitrogen and consequently the probe's radar signals were able to detect the sea floor 170 m (557'9") below the liquid surface).[24]. Due to the eccentricity of Saturn's orbit, the northern summer is longer than the southern summer and consequently the rainy season is longer in the north. [15], During a close Cassini flyby in December 2007 the visual and mapping instrument observed a lake, Ontario Lacus, in Titan's south polar region. [39], The discoveries in the polar regions contrast with the findings of the Huygens probe, which landed near Titan's equator on January 14, 2005.