Saturn's moon Titan is drifting away from the planet faster than scientists had estimated

Researchers believe that the moon Titan had formed much closer to Saturn and has migrated outward to its current position.


New research by NASA and the Italian Space Agency has revealed that Saturn's moon Titan is drifting away faster from the celestial body than previously thought.

According to NASA, while this is a common phenomenon, the researchers have found that Titan is drifting faster than previously thought.

Even our Moon floats away from Earth a tiny bit each year. According to NASA, like a moon orbits, its gravity pulls on the planet, "causing a temporary bulge in the planet as it passes."

 Saturns moon Titan is drifting away from the planet faster than scientists had estimated

Saturn and its moon Titan that is now drifitng away from the planet

"Over time, the energy created by the bulging and subsiding transfers from the planet to the moon, nudging it farther and farther out. Our Moon drifts 1.5 inches (3.8 centimetres) from Earth each year," reported NASA.

Using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, researchers found Titan drifting a hundred times faster than previously understood — about 4 inches (11 centimetres) per year.

As per a report which cited the results of the study, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the research gave scientists a better understanding of the history of Saturn.

The research suggests Titan formed much closer to Saturn and has migrated outward to its current position.

Scientists were never sure as to when Saturn's rings and moons formed, but the discovery suggests that it was perhaps far more recent than earlier thought.

The report quoted NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory researcher Valéry Lainey as saying, “This result brings an important new piece of the puzzle for the highly debated question of the age of the Saturn system and how its moons formed."


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