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Calm Seas on Titan: Saturn Moon’s Waves Less Than 1 Inch High

Titan’s three largest lakes and their surrounding areas as seen by the Cassini RADAR instrument. The researchers used the instrument to study waves on the lake surfaces. Cyril Grima/ The University of Texas at Austin

The liquid-hydrocarbon lakes and seas on Titan are incredibly calm, suggesting that future missions to the huge Saturn moon could enjoy a smooth ride to the surface, a new study reports.

The waves rippling the three largest lakes in Titan’s northern hemisphereare tiny, according to the study — just 0.25 inches (1 centimeter) high by about 8 inches (20 cm) long.

“There’s a lot of interest in one day sending probes to the lakes, and when that’s done, you want to have a safe landing, and you don’t want a lot of wind,” study lead author Cyril Grima, a research associate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG), said in a statement. “Our study shows that because the waves aren’t very high, the winds are likely low.”

Space.com, July 7, 2017

International Business Times, July 5, 2017

UPI, July 5, 2017

Pasadena Star-News, July 12, 2017

Extreme Tech, July 7, 2017

 

 

Featuring: Cyril Grima, Research Associate, Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences