‘Dust devils’ might be twirling on the Saturn’s biggest moon

In a new study, the reports show that there could be “dust devils,” which could be swirling on the Saturn’s moon Titan, making it hard to see through the Titan’s surface. These dry whirlwinds could be the critical movers of dust on the distant world. According to Brian Jackson, a planetary scientist at Boise State University said that Titan could be more Mars-like than thought before.

Jackson said, “The Mars atmosphere is very dusty, and dust has a vital role in climate,” he said. “Dust devils are most likely to be the most significant techniques for lofting the dust.” The Titans atmosphere is one and a half times our planet’s air density, and it does not host such big, gusty winds. The scientists feel that the moon might have dust devils, just as it is the case of Earth and Mars. 

“If at all the dust devils exist, they are the major dust transport mechanisms on Titan if not the huge storm rolling through,” Jackson said. 

On the studies conducted before, they have confirmed that dust is there, which compose of organic material that is blowing across the Titan’s surface. Upon the application of their models, the research team comes up with a conclusion that the conditions on the Titan’s surface might be conducive to dust devils. This depicts how winds disperse various materials on the world as well as its atmosphere. 

The researchers also show that “when we want to show the numbers for how much dust the dust devils are likely to lift based on wind speeds, they ought to take up more dust beyond our expectations,” Jackson said. “This means that there could be other techniques which may be helping them pull this dust,” he added. 

However, the research does not clear the doubt if it’s true or not; there are dust devils on Titan. It just indicates that the conditions on the Titan’s surface are likely to support them. Soon, we will have data from NASA’s Dragonfly mission, which could clear the air and confirm whether or not these dust devils do swirl around the moon. 

According to the researchers who were conducting these studies, they said that if the dust devils really exist, they are unlikely to pose any danger to NASA’s Dragonfly Mission even if it encounters them. The dragonfly is planned to launch in 2026 and land on Titan’s surface in 2034.