Il mare di dune di Titano

Sull’ultimo numero di Science:

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/312/5774/724

The most recent Cassini RADAR images of Titan show widespread regions (up to 1500 kilometers by 200 kilometers) of near-parallel radar-dark linear features that appear to be seas of longitudinal dunes similar to those seen in the Namib desert on Earth. The Ku-band (2.17-centimeter wavelength) images show 100-meter ridges consistent with duneforms and reveal flow interactions with underlying hills. The distribution and orientation of the dunes support a model of fluctuating surface winds of 0.5 meter per second resulting from the combination of an eastward flow with a variable tidal wind. The existence of dunes also requires geological processes that create sand-sized (100- to 300-micrometer) particulates and a lack of persistent equatorial surface liquids to act as sand traps.