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  • Dust storm
    Artist's concept of a dust storm on Titan.
    Credit: IPGP/Labex UnivEarthS/University Paris Diderot - C. Epitalon & S. Rodriguez
09/24/2018 13:41:53

JPL News: Dust Storms on Titan Spotted for the First Time

Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft has revealed what appear to be giant dust storms in equatorial regions of Saturn's moon Titan. The discovery, described in a paper published on Sept. 24 in Nature Geoscience, makes Titan the third Solar System body, in addition to Earth and Mars, where dust storms have been observed.

The observation is helping scientists to better understand the fascinating and dynamic environment of Saturn's largest moon.

"Titan is a very active moon," said Sebastien Rodriguez, an astronomer at the Université Paris Diderot, France, and the paper's lead author. "We already know that about its geology and exotic hydrocarbon cycle. Now we can add another analogy with Earth and Mars: the active dust cycle, in which organic dust can be raised from large dune fields around Titan's equator."

Titan is an intriguing world -- in ways quite similar to Earth. In fact, it is the only moon in the Solar System with a substantial atmosphere and the only celestial body other than our planet where stable bodies of surface liquid are known to still exist.

Read the full story from JPL News.