Alien Lake District

Saturn’s Moon Titan is Covered in Earth-Like Lakes

byVictor Tangermann
4. 16. 19

They're not made out of the fresh water we're used to back on Earth, though.

Alien Lake District

By analyzing data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft’s last flyby in 2017, scientists found that Saturn’s largest moon Titan is covered with lakes similar to those found on Earth.

Precipitation refills some of the lakes once they drain over time, just like on Earth, confirming a long-standing theory about the moon’s geology. But there’s one obvious difference from Earth: Titan’s lakes are filled with  liquid hydrocarbons, including methane and ethane — very much unlike the fresh water found in Lake Michigan.

Titan Mesas

The new information about deep, miles-across lakes provides important insight into the nature of Titan’s geology — and how its north pole compares to its southern hemisphere.

“It is as if you looked down on the Earth’s North Pole and could see that North America had completely different geologic setting for bodies of liquid than Asia does,” Jonathan Lunine, co-author of the paper published in Nature Astronomy today, said in a statement.


A Last Hurrah

The scientists’ theory: Titan’s lakes formed very much in a similar way that water dissolves limestone bedrock — except that chemicals dissolve a bedrock of ice and “solid organics.”

“This was Cassini’s last hurrah at Titan, and it really was a feat,” Lunine said in the statement.

READ MORE: NASA’s Cassini Reveals Surprises with Titan’s Lakes [Jet Propulsion Lab]

More on Titan: NASA Engineer: Humans Should Consider Settling Saturn’s Moon Titan


Care about supporting clean energy adoption? Find out how much money (and planet!) you could save by switching to solar power at By signing up through this link, may receive a small commission.

Share This Article

Copyright ©, Camden Media Inc All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Data Use Policy. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.