NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured a crisp image of a long river cutting across Saturn’s huge moon Titan.
Image: A river near the north pole of Saturn’s moon Titan, imaged by the Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 26, 2012. The river valley stretches more than 250 miles from its ‘headwaters’ to a large sea and likely contains hydrocarbons. Credit: NASA/JPL–Caltech/ASI
The hydrocarbon-filled river stretches more than 250 miles (400 kilometers) from its source to a large sea near frigid Titan’s north pole. Cassini’s radar image is the first high-resolution shot ever taken of such a vast river system on a world beyond Earth, researchers said, and scientists are comparing it to Earth’s Nile River in Egypt.
"Though there are some short, local meanders, the relative straightness of the river valley suggests it follows the trace of at least one fault, similar to other large rivers running into the southern margin of this same Titan sea," Jani Radebaugh, a Cassini radar team associate at Brigham Young University, said in a statement.