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Titan Looks like Earth in New Image

Update Date: Dec 12, 2015 03:28 PM EST
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NASA revealed the image of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, obtained from the photos that were captured by the Cassini spacecraft. The images released show the surface of the moon rather than the smoky atmosphere. The image shows the terrain that faces the Saturn hemisphere. Tidal locked Titan always has the same side facing the Saturn, the same way Earth's moon is tidal locked to planet Earth, reports Discovery News.

On its November 13th flyby, Cassini flew as close as 10,000 kilometers from Titan which has been significantly higher than the usual flybys of 1200 kilometers. However, this allowed the spacecraft to click moderate resolution pictures over wide areas. The resolution of the image was a few kilometers per pixel. The image revealed various levels of detail due to varying altitudes because of varying altitudes from where the pictures were taken. The images released by NASA were taken at near-infrared wavelengths that penetrated the thick blanket of orange haze of the Titan's atmosphere. The colors represented by the image are false and are representative of the wavelengths of light that were collected by visual and infrared mapping spectrometer or VIMS instrument of Cassini, according to ABC News

As per NASA, the image taken by the Cassini orbiter show processes shaping the surface of Titan that are similar to Earth. The moon appears to be covered with river channels, tall dunes and even lakes. This is the only moon in our planetary solar system that has a layer of atmosphere. There are relatively few meteorite craters on Titan, meaning that its surface must be relatively young, being reshaped by wind, liquid and tectonic movement similar to processes on Earth. However, the -179 degree Celsius temperature on Titan causes sand to be composed of hydrocarbon grains, the solid surface are as hard as rock and the liquid present on Titan in the form of rain is methane which is present in gaseous form on Earth, reports The Independent.

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