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Titan may harbor huge ocean

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 18:40

Melbourne: A new study has suggested that Titan, Saturn`s largest moon, might have a huge liquid ocean below its frozen dune covered surface.

Researcher Rose-Marie Baland and colleagues from the Royal Observatory of Belgium came to their conclusions after examining seven years worth of data from the Cassini spacecraft as it monitored Titan`s orbit and rate of rotation.

They found Titan`s moment of inertia, the amount of energy needed to stop its movement, is about 50 percent higher than it should be for a solid body, reports ABC Science.

This can only be explained if Titan is denser near its surface than its center- something the researchers say isn`t possible based on their current understanding about how planets and moons form.

Another explanation could be that Titan isn`t completely solid, but contains a huge ocean beneath its frozen methane soaked surface, said the researchers.

The study has been published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.


First Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 18:40

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