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Titan's Ocean as Salty as Earth's D
Titan's Ocean as Salty as Earth's Dead Sea
 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA , 3-July-2014  5:37:32 AM
A massive underground ocean on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, may be as salty as the Earth's Dead Sea, scientists have found.

The new results come from a study of gravity and topography data collected during NASA spacecraft Cassini's repeated flybys of Titan during the past 10 years.

Using the Cassini data, researchers presented a model structure for Titan, resulting in an improved understanding of the structure of the moon's outer ice shell.

"Titan continues to prove itself as an endlessly fascinating world, and with our long-lived Cassini spacecraft, we're unlocking new mysteries as fast as we solve old ones," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

Additional findings support previous indications the moon's icy shell is rigid and in the process of freezing solid.

Researchers found that a relatively high density was required for Titan's ocean in order to explain the gravity data.

This indicates the ocean is probably an extremely salty brine of water mixed with dissolved salts likely composed of sulphur, sodium and potassium.

The density indicated for this brine would give the ocean a salt content roughly equal to the saltiest bodies of water on Earth.

"This is an extremely salty ocean by Earth standards," said the paper's lead author, Giuseppe Mitri of the University of Nantes in France.

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