• Thanks to these unique features, Titan has been studied more than any moon other than Earth’s, including numerous fly-bys by the Cassini probe, as well as the Huygens lander which touched down in 2004. On board Cassini is an instrument partly designed at UCL, the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS), which was used in this study.
  • Unlike Earth, Titan has no magnetic field of its own, but is surrounded by Saturn’s rapidly rotating magnetic field, which drapes forming a comet-like tail around the moon.
  • Data from CAPS proved a few years ago that the top of Titan’s atmosphere is losing about seven tonnes of hydrocarbons and nitriles every day, but didn’t explain why this was happening. The new research explains that this atmospheric loss is driven by a polar wind powered by an interaction between sunlight, the solar magnetic field and the molecules present in the upper atmosphere.

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