6 jul. 2004

Cassini probes Titan's mysteries

New Scientist

The latest images from Cassini are completely reversing scientists' ideas about Saturn's giant moon Titan.

The space probe flew within 340,000 kilometres of Titan on Friday. It has revealed methane clouds and a strangely smeary surface that may include tectonic features and huge impact craters.

Before the flyby, planetary scientists had some low resolution images of Titan. The bright areas shown by the images were thought to be water ice, and the dark areas probably hydrocarbon gunge. But the new images suggest the opposite.

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