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December 4 2012

Titan, Saturn's largest moon, icier than thought, scientists say


A new analysis of topographic and gravity data from Titan, the largest of Saturn's moons, indicates that Titan's icy outer crust is twice as thick as has generally been thought.

Scientists have long suspected that a vast ocean of liquid water lies under the crust. The new study suggests that the internally generated heat that keeps that ocean from freezing solid depends far more on Titan's interactions with Saturn and its other moons than had been suspected.

Howard Zebker, a professor of geophysics and of electrical engineering at Stanford University, will present the findings at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco on Tuesday (Dec. 4).

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