|This view shows a close up of toward the south polar region of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, and show a depression within the moon's orange and blue haze layers near the south pole. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft snapped the image on Sept. 11, 2011 and it was released on Dec. 22. |
CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
A better understanding of how its hazy, soupy atmosphere works could shed light on similar ones scientists might find on alien planets and moons. However, conflicting details about how Titan's atmosphere is structured have emerged over the years.
The lowest layer of any atmosphere, known as its boundary layer, is most influenced by a planet or moon's surface. It in turn most influences the surface with clouds and winds, as well as by sculpting dunes.
"This layer is very important for the climate and weather — we live in the terrestrial boundary layer," said study lead author Benjamin Charnay, a planetary scientist at France's National Center of Scientific Research.