Scientists say one of Saturn’s moon is eerily similar to Earth in one crucial way.
According to a paper published in Geophysical Research Letter, the Saturn moon Titan features oceans that lie at an average elevation, which we refer to as “sea level” on Earth. The finding is notable because Titan is the only other world scientists know of with stable liquid on its surface.
The big difference, of course, is that Titan’s oceans are filled with hydrocarbons, with water ice covered by a layer of organic solid material. So, you couldn’t exactly visit Titan and go for a dip.
As NASA explains:
The study suggests that elevation is important because Titan’s liquid bodies appear to be connected under the surface in something akin to an aquifer system at Earth. Hydrocarbons appear to be flowing underneath Titan’s surface similar to the way water flows through underground porous rock or gravel on Earth, so that nearby lakes communicate with each other and share a common liquid level.
Titan’s seas follow a constant elevation relative to its gravitational pull, according to the paper, similar to what we find on Earth. Additionally, the lakes found on Titan are also similar to lakes found on Earth in that they’re often hundreds of feet higher than the moon’s oceans.
The findings published in the paper was culled from data collected by Cassini, which recently plummeted to its doom toward the end of last year.