A Subsurface Ocean on Saturn Moon Titan

A Subsurface Ocean on Saturn Moon Titan


On the basis of gravity and radar observations with the Cassini spacecraft, the moment of inertia of Titan and the orientation of Titan’s rotation axis have been estimated in recent studies. According to the observed orientation, Titan is close to the Cassini state. However, the observed obliquity is inconsistent with the estimate of the moment of inertia for an entirely solid Titan occupying the Cassini state. Scientists of the Observatoire (Rose-Marie Baland, Tim Van Hoolst, Marie Yseboodt and Ozgur Karatekin) propose a new Cassini state model for Titan in which they assume the presence of a liquid water ocean beneath an ice shell and consider the gravitational and pressure torques arising between the different layers of the satellite. With the new model, we find a closer agreement between the moment of inertia and the rotation state than for the solid case, strengthening the possibility that Titan has a subsurface ocean.

The article: http://arxiv.org/abs/1104.2741

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