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Titan's ocean could be as salty as Dead Sea

Posted on Thursday, 3 July, 2014 | Comment icon 14 comments

Artist's rendering of Titan's interior structure. Image Credit: NASA/JPL
The ocean thought to lie within Saturn's largest moon may contain significant quantities of salt.
The claim is based on new data recorded by the Cassini orbiter as part of a study in to the gravity and topography of Titan that has allowed scientists to build up a detailed picture of its structure.

"Titan continues to prove itself as an endlessly fascinating world, and with our long-lived Cassini spacecraft, we’re unlocking new mysteries as fast as we solve old ones," said project scientist Linda Spilker.

The new findings support the idea that Titan maintains an icy external shell with a liquid water ocean underneath. Unexpectedly however the data also suggests that this ocean is likely to possess a high salt content, potentially rivaling even that of the Dead Sea here on Earth.

"This is an extremely salty ocean by Earth standards," said study lead author Giuseppe Mitri. "Knowing this may change the way we view this ocean as a possible abode for present-day life, but conditions might have been very different there in the past."

Source: | Comments (14)

Tags: Saturn, Titan, Salt

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by coolguy on 4 July, 2014, 3:28
They won't know if its ocean is salt water unless u build something that can land there
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 4 July, 2014, 9:18
Really! Funny that because the scientists seem to disagree with you.
Comment icon #7 Posted by shrooma on 4 July, 2014, 19:18
i was always under the impression that the oceans' salinity came from dissolved minerals? wouldn't that be difficult on a world that's made of "water"? or are they saying there's some kind of geology at the core that's leeching minerals? a captured meteor maybe, that water/ice condensed around...? .
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 4 July, 2014, 19:46
These "ice" worlds are far from being pure water. Even comets are "dirty balls", water ice mixed with other minerals.
Comment icon #9 Posted by shrooma on 4 July, 2014, 19:51
. but, enough 'dirt' to salinate an entire moon? that's a lot of dirt. but it's space after all, so who knows..... .
Comment icon #10 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 4 July, 2014, 20:15
You don't need to salinate the entire moon, just the ocean... and it's far less salt than is needed on Earth or (it would seem) Mars.
Comment icon #11 Posted by shrooma on 4 July, 2014, 20:21
. but i thought that in Titan's case, it's ocean WAS its moon? by that i mean that there's nothing discernably solid there, as far as we can tell? . [edited for double post.] .
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 4 July, 2014, 20:25
Checking up on the structure of Titan it is far from being made of ice. It has a radius of 2576 Km of which 2,000 Km is a silicate core. The liquid ocean, sandwiched between two layer of ice, is relatively shallow. Plenty of minerals to salinate the ocean.
Comment icon #13 Posted by shrooma on 4 July, 2014, 20:31
. thank's for the gen Waspie. now i know. and that's better than not knowing. .

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