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Cassini generates map of Titan’s winds

USA: Nearly four years of research data have been used by Cassini mission scientists to create one of the most complex and comprehensive maps of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, as far as winds go. The huge dunes on the surface of the planet have been believed for a long time to be the main factor responsible for the way wind blows on the surface of the natural satellite. Now, by combining numerous radar readings, astronomers have the first complete image of what can be thought of as an atmosphere on Titan.

Earlier Cassini pictures have revealed that Titan’s dunes are mostly oriented in an east-west direction, but, according to geologists, the winds that blow close to the surface may actually be moving towards the east. Simply put, if this turns out to be true, then it means that most of the previous models of Titan’s winds are completely mistaken. Understanding exactly how winds blow on Saturn’s moon is vitally important for a future mission, which NASA envisions to contain balloon-like observatories.