Titan revealed to be cold but Earth-like
NASA's Cassini spacecraft's images of Saturn's largest moon Titan reveal a surface shaped largely by Earth-like processes, mission scientists said.
The same forces that shape Earth's surface -- plate tectonics, erosion, winds and possibly volcanism -- also are at work on the giant, fog-shrouded moon that is larger than the planets Mercury and Pluto.Since Cassini and the European probe Huygens began transmitting data and close-up images of Titan -- Cassini flew by the moon for the first of 44 planned encounters last Oct. 26 and Huygens landed Jan. 14 -- scientists have found liquid methane on its cold surface, including what may be a river near the south pole roughly 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) long.
They also have discovered that winds on Titan blow much faster than the moon rotates.
So far, Cassini's cameras have covered about 30 percent of Titan's surface, imaging features as small as about a half-mile in size.Mission controllers plan to fly the spacecraft past Titan 41 more times over the next three years.