Tuesday, June 6, 2017
South Mudd 365
Planetary Science Seminar
Titan: An Earth-like world in the Outer Solar System
Michael Malaska, Researcher, JPL
Saturn's moon Titan is the most Earth-like world in the Outer Solar System. Just like Earth, Titan has a thick nitrogen atmosphere that supports an active weather cycle underneath organic haze layers. The Cassini spacecraft discovered that underneath Titan's haze layers are familiar features like rivers, lakes, seas, dunes, plateaus, canyons, and mountains. But unlike Earth, frigid Titan's rainfall is methane, the lakes and seas are liquid hydrocarbons, the dunes and plateaus are organic sediments, and the mountains are made of rock-hard water ice. We'll explore the amazing landscape of Titan and see how the landscape and geological processes on that world compares and contrasts with those of planet Earth.