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Saturn's Moon Titan has Virtually No Craters

By rob13     Mar 26, 2007 in Technology
When a 110 mile (180 kilometer) diameter impact crater was found on Titan in January, it marked only the fourth crater found on Saturn's biggest moon.
Impact cratering is pervasive in our solar system, and the number of craters on the surface of a moon or planet can reveal its age in just the same way the accumulation of potholes on a highway reveals how long ago the asphalt was laid.
Astronomers think one reason for the lack of craters on Titan may be due to the thick nitrogen atmosphere that appears to stop the formation of impact craters. It may also be possible that impact craters are buried by the many dunes on Titan, or that methane may have helped erode the rims on these craters.
Right now the Cassini space probe has only mapped 10 percent of Titans surface, and astronomers think that maybe another 30-100 impact craters may be found.
Impact craters are important because they sometimes tell the age of planets and moons in the solar system.
Earth's Moon remains heavily pockmarked because it has no significant weather or geological processes to wipe its face clean. Earth, similarly bombarded over the eons, shows many scars from relatively recent impacts that have not had time to weather away. Craters are common on several other satellites of Saturn.
One of the interesting facts of these impacts is that they have the ability to change the atmosphere of a planet or moon. In Titan's case, this may mean the heat from an impact can cause water to liquefy on this frozen moon.
And you know what they say, where there is water;there is the potential for life.
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