Astronomy Picture of the Day
June 2, 2013

Ligeia Mare: the North-Western Side (EDM - Image-Mosaic)
Ligeia Mare: the North-Western Side (EDM - Image-Mosaic)

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell; Credits fo the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF

In this EDM Radio Image-Mosaic we focus our attention on the North/Western Portion of Ligeia Mare: the second largest known body of liquid (after Kraken Mare) that can be found on the Saturnian moon Titan. Even this Mare is (likely) filled with liquid Hydrocarbons, such as Ethane and Methane, and it is one of the many Seas and Lakes that bejewel Titan's North Polar Regions. The NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft is trying to observe the presence of waves on Ligeia Mare and we hopefully shall know more after the examination of the images taken by the Spacecraft during its last close-encounter with Titan, which occurred on May 23, 2013.

The images forming this mosaic were obtained by the Synthetic Aperture Radar onboard the NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft between February 2006 and April 2007. The Black Areas (---> Extremely Low or Zero Radar Return) are the locations where the body of liquid Hydrocarbons forming Ligeia Mare is thicker (---> where the Sea is deeper); on the other hand, the Gray and Bright Regions (---> Medium/High Radar Return) represent the locations where the liquids are less deep (---> Dark and Light Gray Areas) or totally absent (---> Bright Gray/Yellowish Areas). It is also possible that there could also be relatively small Areas where the amount of surfacing liquid Hydrocarbons is just enough to make a series of small Pools, and thus creating an environment which may remind us of the Terrestrial Swamps. As a matter of fact, the Shorelines of Ligeia Mare and other North Polar Seas and Lakes have been relatively stable over the period of observation by the NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft, in contrast to the South Polar Ontario Lacus, where, in just a few years, there has been a significant Shoreline Recession.

As of now, no one can say for sure if this kind of environment could support the existence of some sort of "Exotic" Indigenous Lifeforms which could live - and, perhaps, evolve... - within these Bodies of Liquid Hydrocabons and, furthermore, nobody can also exclude the presence, within (or even just near) these Bodies of Liquids, of some kind of "Exotic" Superficial Vegetation, but the possibilities that something may actually be alive in and/or near and around these Seas, Lakes and Rivers, are - in our opinion, as IPF - not too small.

This image-mosaic (which is an Original NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft radio image mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the n. PIA 17031), since it is just a combination of Radio-Images of the Titanian Surface and NOT a real view of it, has been colorized, according to an informed speculation carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in what they could reasonably be its possible Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft and, once the thick layer of Titanian Hazes and Fogs shall have been completely overcome, looked down, towards the Surface of Titan itself), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.



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