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Titan Harbors Lakes Full of Methane

June 15, 2012; 5:48 AM ET

A branch of NASA called the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has a spacecraft called Cassini that has taken infrared images of one of Saturn's moons called Titan.

There are several lakelike features, which are up to the size of the Great Salt Lake in Utah and are at least 3 feet deep. Others are more like swamps here on Earth. There is assumed to be a large underground supply of methane for these liquid bodies as this compound made of carbon and hydrogen evaporates very easily and thus the supply of it at the surface needs to be constantly replenished.

What is making people very interested in this moon of Saturn is that when sunlight interacts with methane, it breaks down and produces carbon atoms. As we all know, carbon is the building block of life here on Earth. Therefore, some theorists think that some forms of life may be found on this satellite of Saturn.

The black areas in this image are thought to be large methane lakes. The rings of Saturn are in the background.

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About This Blog

Astronomy Blog
The astronomy blog, by Dave Samuhel, discusses stargazing, including how weather will affect viewing conditions of astronomical phenomenon.