The Origins Of The Windswept Dunes On Titan

December 9, 2014 4:27 PM

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The Origins Of The Windswept Dunes On Titan

A decade ago, radar images taken by the Cassini spacecraft first revealed that 20% of the surface of Saturn's largest moon is covered by wind-formed dunes hundreds of yards high, more than a mile wide and hundreds of miles long. But how is this possible, when data suggests that Titan only has light breezes?

What's more, the Cassini data showed that the predominant winds that shaped the dunes — which are likely made of tiny sand-sized particles of frozen hydrocarbons — blew from east to west. However, the streamlined appearance of the dunes around obstacles like mountains and craters (below) indicate th...

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