‘Salt Flats’ Found Around Lakes On Titan

Spring has sprung on Saturn’s moon.

1. Titan is Saturn’s largest moon. It’s also the only body in the solar system, other than Earth, that has lakes on its surface.

NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

On Titan, it rains hydrocarbons, not water. And the moon’s several lakes, around its north pole, are mostly filled with methane.

2. Now NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has spotted Titan’s equivalent of the salt flats we see on Earth.

(These salt mounds were found in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.)

3. It’s spring on Titan now, so Cassini scientists think its lakes might be evaporating, leaving behind the bright deposits highlighted in this false colour image.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University of Idaho

The deposits are believed to be organic chemicals, originally part of the haze that surrounds Titan’s north pole, that were dissolved in the methane lakes.

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Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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