A new theory to explain how the dunes on Titan formed

phys.org | 4/8/2014 | Staff
mel4 (Posted by) Level 4
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A trio of researchers with the University of Hawaii has developed a new theory to explain how the dunes on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, may have formed. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, Matthew Abplanalp, Robert Frigge and Ralf Kaiser suggest that rather than forming from rainfall, the dunes have formed on the moon's surface.

Prior research that involved studying data from the Cassini space probe showed that Titan's atmosphere contains some organic molecules that are made from long chains of carbon atoms. This has led to theories that such organic molecules fall from the atmosphere and form the dunes that cover part of the equatorial region on the moon's surface. In this new effort, Abplanalp, Frigge and Kaiser suggest that the dunes may have arisen another way—via cosmic rays striking acetylene ice, inciting reactions that lead to the formation of the materials that make up the dunes.

Researchers - Theory - Batches - Ice - Lab

The researchers tested their theory by creating batches of acetylene ice in their lab and then bombarding it with radiation similar to that experienced by Titan. They...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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