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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Speed on Titan

Satellite view of Saturn - Titan - Artist's conception

In order to determine the strength of the wind on the largest moon of Saturn, scientists took into account the movement of his "sand" dunes.
Titan - one of the few celestial bodies in the solar system, which is covered by sand dunes.However, the "sand" planet difrfes from what can be found in children's play area - it consists of very small particles of ice or solid hydrocarbons. Its density is about one-third of the Earth's density of sand, and the force of gravity on the planet itself - one-seventh of the Earth's gravity.Therefore, scientists have calculated that to the dunes on Titan could be moved (which they do), the wind should blow on the planet at a rate of not less than 1 4 meters per second, and this is the minimum. To find out, the researchers conducted experiments in a wind tunnel and came to the conclusion - the smallest particles in Titan's dunes conditions of the atmosphere and gravity can move just as fast.
Titan - the only place in the solar system besides Earth, where it is proved the presence of liquid on the surface. However, it is not water but a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons, mainly methane and ethane. In addition, under the surface of Titan, there is ice ocean consisting presumably of liquid water with significant inclusions of ammonia and extremely high salinity.
Scientists have also studied the model dunes satellite and found that despite the fact that the world is dominated by winds from the east, the dunes are formed mainly rarer winds from the west.