It's been a good one year since NASA's incredible trust has done Cassini's project with its final move, falling into the atmosphere of Saturn where it was stripped of intense friction. It is a bittersweet day for the astronomical community, but the wealth of Cassini's information during its time of over 13 years orbiting Saturn still yields new discoveries.
In a new paper published in Nature Astronomy researchers at the Cassini project show that the will of the radar data spacecraft now shows that Saturn's Titan moon is more special than scientists who have realized. The lakes of the moon, observed by Cassini in its last pass in 2017, are deeper than the human thought.
Earth has much liquid on its surface, but it can not be said in many other worlds in our solar system, Titan is the exception, with vast lakes visible from space. The lakes are not filled with liquid water, however, because the Titan is too cold for the possible. Instead, the Titan lakes are full of methane, cooled to the point where it becomes a liquid instead of a gas while we think of it on Earth.
Scientists know that these lakes have existed for some time, but Cassini reveals how deep they are. In the new study, the research team shows that the lakes are over 300 feet deep, and they are replaced by the same mechanisms we see on Earth with water in the form of liquid, steam, and rain .
"Every time we make Titan's discoveries, the Titan becomes even more mysterious," author's author Marco Mastrogiuseppe of Caltech said in a statement. "But these new measurements provide an answer to some basic questions. We can actually better understand Titan's hydrology."
The discovery is also a great reminder that missions as Cassini can produce new developments even years after their wraps, and the efficiency of which spacecraft and rovers NASA quickly expose the data capability of human scientists to filter through it.