The lakes of Titan and their exploration

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The Cassini mission discovered lakes and seas comprised of mostly methane in the polar regions of Titan. We present an analysis on the morphology of the small lake basins that feature raised rims to elucidate their origin, using delay-Doppler processed altimetric and bathymetric data acquired during the last close flyby of Titan by the Cassini spacecraft. We discuss how the morphology of the raised-rim basins is analogous to terrestrial explosion craters and that raised-rim basins are evidence for one or more warming events terminating a nitrogen-dominated cold episode on Titan. We also present how a future exploration of Titan with an orbiter and a lake probe could clarify the origin of the hydrocarbon lakes on Titan.

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