Saturn’s largest moon, Titan had been hiding a lot of secrets behind several of its thick haze layers until now, but, the researchers have finally peered through them and unmasked a big stretch of ice-rich bedrock.
This corridor of ice spreads across about half of the moon’s girth, spanning 6,3000 kms in total. The discovered icy stretch is pretty puzzling as it does not correlate along with any of the measurements or features of Titan’s subsurface, says Caitlin Griffith, a planetary scientist at Arizona University.
Griffith, along with her team of researchers, studied the data which was collected by the Nasa’s Cassini space probe and used an infrared spectrometer equipment to look as closely as possible into the opaque thick haze of Titan.
Using a method known as principal component analysis (PCA) to go through the most obscure and hidden features in the collected data, the researchers spotted the water ice which they believe is an outcome of a big ancient cryovolcano that may have produced liquid water on the surface of Titan. However, as Titan currently was not thought of having any sort of active ice volcanoes, the question as to why such a massive stretch of ice is still present continues to be a mystery.
The research appears in the Nature Astronomy journal.