Scientists studying Titan, the largest moon of Saturn have stated that there is a bizarre form of methane ice which is wrapped halfway around it. Titan has always remained a mystery for astrophysicists due to the methane cycle around which was detect by Cassini mission ended in 2017 September, which is being studied in detail. Detailed research shows that its methane cycle is broken up time and again by energy of the sun which leads to creation of a haze that slowly settles down on the moon’s surface in the form of organic sediments. As there is source of methane on Titan it appears that it is being depleted slowly. Researchers led by Arizona University’s Caitlin Griffith studied this methane cycle found that the only source of new methane is from lakes and seas on the surface of Titan which is likely to get depleted eventually.
Her team studied for signs of potential cryovolcanoes on Titan’s surface to signal presence of methane reservoirs on its subsurface and to their surprise discovered a line of methane ice spanning 40 % of the moon’s surface. Griffith’s team has declared the presence of icy corridor as puzzling since it does not correlate with Titan’s surface features and the measurements on its subsurface.
They detected traces of this icy methane on some of Titan’s slopes which shows that it is eroding and revealing ice and organic details. Their team studied several thousand images beamed down by Cassini’s spectrometer. Though it is difficult to observe Titan due to its hazy atmosphere the scientists used a new technique to bring out details of the moon’s surface features. They compared details of their studies with details revealed by Huygens probe when it was sent by Cassini to Titan’s surface and it validated their results. Though both Earth and Titan have different evolutionary paths they have unique surfaces and atmospheres that are rich in organic details.