The Cassini Space Telescope has recently been bringing back some awesome images of the planet Saturn and it’s many moons. We have one moon and think about how much our one little moon affects our planet with tides and it’s gravitational pull.
Saturn has 62 moons and scientist have really just begun understanding how Saturn’s moons effect the ringed planet. In the image above, the Cassini spacecraft captured this shot of Enceladus, which sits just below one of Saturn’s rings. The photo is just a sampling of what Cassini is sending back for scientists to study, but you have to admit Saturn is probably the most photogenic planet in our solar system. Maybe I just have ring envy.
But the big story coming out of Cassini and it’s exploration of Saturn is its largest moon known as Titan. Scientists are now saying that Titan has an Earth-like layered atmosphere and as Cassini gets closer and gives us a better look, they are finding the moon’s atmosphere has some of the same characteristics of our own layered atmosphere.
“This layer is very important for the climate and weather — we live in the terrestrial boundary layer,” said study lead author Benjamin Charnay, a planetary scientist at France’s National Center of Scientific Research.
Earth’s boundary layer, which is between 1,650 feet and 1.8 miles (500 meters and 3 kilometers) thick, is controlled largely by solar heat warming the planet’s surface. Since Titan is much further away from the sun, it’s boundary layer might behave quite differently, but much remains uncertain about it — Titan’s atmosphere is thick and opaque, confusing what we know about its lower layers.
Could it be possible that scientists will find some type of alien life form that can sustain Titan’s freezing temperatures? NASA and the space community at large has said that 2012 is the year that they think they will discover alien life somewhere in the Universe. Could it happen in our very own back yard on one of Saturn’s moons?
For more on the story, check out [Yahoo]