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Titan as an ice cream desert; organonitrogen haze; hydrocarbon haze; tholin; smog; anti-greenhouse effect - Space Art Illustration
 

Titan as an ice cream desert

Long before the ESA's Huygens probe parachuted to Titan's surface on 14 January 2005, scientists speculated that if Titan was not covered with liquid hydrocarbons, its surface could yet have the consistency of wet clay or sand--or ice cream. When Huygens soft-landed on Titan, an instrument on the underside of the probe penetrated the surface. Initially the resulting data suggested that Huygens settled on a surface consisting of a thin crust, immediately below which was a softer region of relatively uniform consistency. This led one mission scientist compare the surface to Crème brûlée. Subsequent analysis reveals a surface more like wet sand.

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