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Hints of Life Found On Saturn's Moon Titan

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the time-for-cassini-2 dept.

NASA 227

Calopteryx writes "New Scientist reports that in 2005, researchers predicted two potential signatures of life on Titan. Now, thanks to research done with the help of the Cassini spacecraft, both have been seen, although non-biological chemical reactions could also be behind the observations. NASA's writeup has further details: 'One key finding comes from a paper online now in the journal Icarus [abstract] that shows hydrogen molecules flowing down through Titan's atmosphere and disappearing at the surface. Another paper online now in the Journal of Geophysical Research maps hydrocarbons on the Titan surface and finds a lack of acetylene. This lack of acetylene is important because that chemical would likely be the best energy source for a methane-based life on Titan, said Chris McKay, an astrobiologist at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., who proposed a set of conditions necessary for this kind of methane-based life on Titan in 2005. One interpretation of the acetylene data is that the hydrocarbon is being consumed as food. But McKay said the flow of hydrogen is even more critical because all of their proposed mechanisms involved the consumption of hydrogen.'"

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227 comments

You know where hints of life WEREN'T found? (-1, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32460986)

In yo momma's pants.

Sorry folks. Slow day here at the office.

Re:You know where hints of life WEREN'T found? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461100)

she doesn't wear pants....

Re:You know where hints of life WEREN'T found? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32462076)

Thats what she said!

Nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461028)

two potential signatures of life on Titan

Nice.... I still have a chance.

Re:Nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461240)

For a date? To discover the life yourself? To find additional signatures of life? To clarify your statement?

Oh crap (1)

Parlett316 (112473) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461030)

I hope the Silver Surfer will keep him from blowing up Earth!

Re:Oh crap (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461484)

Swing and a miss...

I smell a movie... (1)

stakovahflow (1660677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461082)

Oh, it's been done: Titan A.E.

Slow day here, too...

--Stak

I smell a novel... (2, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461194)

...The Sirens of Titan.

Re:I smell a movie... (1, Funny)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461422)

With methane-based life forms, that's probably an understatement.

.

Re:I smell a movie... (5, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461482)

Methane itself is odorless. I suppose you could be referring to the aromatic compounds that methane-based life might excrete. You're probably just going for the cheap methane is farts joke. Yeah, imagine a Beowulf cluster of those!

I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (1)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461122)

NASA routinely crashes its space probes after their extended missions to prevent any sort of contamination to possible life forms indigenous to the celestial bodies in the area.

I wonder if the Huygens probe's plunge to the surface may have introduced contaminants to Titan's "biosphere".

That would kind of suck. And now we'll never know, since future visits could very well detect readings caused/contaminated by Huygens.

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461242)

It sounded like it was referring to heretofore unknown kinds of life that use completely different chemical processes than we see on earth, with the possible exception of really weird stuff that you find at the bottom of the ocean. Nothing that would have gotten onto our probe, in any case.

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461268)

I think you misunderstand. The mechanisms that would cause life to consume the substances that are 'missing' are totally alien to life as we know it, but fit the model for methane based life very well. It could well be that there are non-biological chemical processes doing it, but the odds of it being from any contamination from Huygens is astronomically remote. Hugyens was also very, very carefully sterilized. Granted, a microbe or two might have made it to Titan, where it would most likely die rather than reproduce.

I do see your point and we need to continue to be careful, but I see nothing in these findings that makes the Hugyens discussion at all relevant to this story.

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461278)

Not only the impact of Huygens or any future probe [wikipedia.org] would be miniscule - with certainly quite different chemistries of Earth life and any possible Titan life, plus with very precise list of probe components and "payload", there should be little chance of confusion...

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461576)

I have a pretty good suspicion that most life on Earth, even the extremophiles, would have a rather hard time living on Titan. The temperatures are extremely low, the solar energy and even Saturn's energy are much less combined than on Earth. The kind of biochemistry would be quite different than found here. I'm not saying it's entirely impossible, but I think a planet like Mars would be far more likely to be able to harbor certain hardy organisms from Earth than a place like Titan. My understanding is that on a world like Titan, the solvent would be something like ammonia or an ammonia-water mixture, so we'd see considerably different organic chemistry that would likely kill of anything we left behind in a really big hurry.

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461636)

Yup. And BTW the "seas" (lakes?) on Titan seem to be methane-ethane; so that's probably the main solvent. I think we use comparable chemicals for very low level disinfection...

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (1)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461290)

I must be misinterpreting your comment. Can you explain how crashing a probe into a celestial body has LESS contamination risk than just letting it drift off into the void?

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461888)

Galileo was crashed into Jupiter to prevent contamination of Europa, the idea being that it would crush and burn and never escape.

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (1)

Binestar (28861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461894)

Carrying enough propellant to escape orbit again is much heavier than carrying enough to crash into something with gravity assist.

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (2, Funny)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461902)

Easy, drifting anything into the void contaminates the void.

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (2, Insightful)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461308)

It would be fairly easy to tell earth based contamination from native stuff. For starters, I'm not aware of any bacterium that you would find on the surface of the earth that eats hydrocarbons in that way and can live in those conditions. Below the artic ice? maybe... but in a clean room in texas? not likely.

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (4, Insightful)

Vekseid (1528215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461490)

Breathing hydrogen basically works in the opposite direction of terrestrial biochemistry. The proposed organisms are breathing hydrogen and presumably fixing it to something (say, oxides they've eaten) rather than the other way around as for Earth life.

And even if it was possible, Huygens could not have contaminated things to such a degree as to affect widespread atmospheric phenomenon.

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (2, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461872)

Unless we've unwittingly invented terraforming? :p

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (2, Informative)

sunspot42 (455706) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461570)

The probe was sterilized, if I recall correctly. So it shouldn't be an issue.

Keep in mind that in the long history of the solar system it's likely that material blasted off the earth by an impact event or events has made its way to the surface of Titan. So Titan may have already been contaminated with life from earth.

Re:I wonder if Huygens contaminated things. (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462026)

I wonder if NASA has been routinely sterilizing soft landers for decades to avoid exactly the kind of thing you are wondering about.

I wonder if it might be possible to tell the difference between Earth-based contaminants and indigenous lifeforms by biochemical and (in the extremely improbable case of biochemical similarity) genetic analysis.

I wonder if it's possible to post questions on /. without knowing the first thing about a topic.

I wonder what I'll have for dinner.

I wonder where my socks are.

Looks like I WIN! (3, Funny)

MediaCastleX (1799990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461128)

When I was in Jr. High, my science class had an assignment where we had to make-up a life form, based on the planet chosen's conditions and mine was Saturn. Of course my design was completely ridiculous, but the idea was pretty much close to what they're saying about Hydrogen consumption. This is pretty cool...I *heart* Saturn. "Pro'lly 'cuz it gots money with all them rings it has!" lol =P

Re:Looks like I WIN! (4, Funny)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461264)

When I was in Jr. High, my science class had an assignment where we had to make-up a life form, based on the planet chosen's conditions and mine was Saturn. Of course my design was completely ridiculous, but the idea was pretty much close to what they're saying about Hydrogen consumption. This is pretty cool...I *heart* Saturn. "Pro'lly 'cuz it gots money with all them rings it has!" lol =P

So what grade did you get on that project last year?

Re:Looks like I WIN! (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461980)

Zing!

Re:Looks like I WIN! (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461890)

Ring bling?

drunk lifeforms (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461146)

Those Titanians are constantly drunk. That's probably very smart as long as they don't drive.

So, to sum up: Life possibly on Titan (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461164)

...or possibly not.

Re:So, to sum up: Life possibly on Titan (4, Informative)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461590)

I'm sorry if real science [xkcd.com] just isn't all that exciting.

Re:So, to sum up: Life possibly on Titan (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461950)

I just watched an episode of Dr Who (3rd Doctor, so 1970 I think) that had an "Actual Science Montage", or near enough for TV. I was amazed. Horrible rubber-suit aliens, but good, solid writing.

Oh jeez (5, Insightful)

Some.Net(Guy) (1733146) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461166)

The worst thing that could possibly happen for any form of life anywhere would be its discovery by us.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461198)

The same could be said of humanity being discovered by more advanced beings. They would treat us as we treat cattle. A resource with nothing interesting to say.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

unr3a1 (1264666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461302)

We have no idea how we would be treated by more advanced beings, and you cannot compare us to cattle. Cattle ARE a resource and have no reason to their thought process. They behave instinctively whereas humans are able to make decisions from reasonable thought.

Some.Net is correct. It would be the worst thing for any life form because of human arrogance and selfishness.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461406)

human beings have a propensity to violence. We don't know if that would be true of other things, but it does increase the likeliness of us being screwed (and anything else) if either is discovered.

Re:Oh jeez (1, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461454)

human beings have a propensity to violence.

And that makes us different from the rest of the animal kingdom in what way?

Re:Oh jeez (0)

unr3a1 (1264666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461628)

The difference again goes to the nature of the different species. We have reasonable thought. Which means that people CHOOSE to either be violent or not. Animals do not, and generally do not act violently for no reason. It is always for survival purposes for hunting, or acting defensively.

We are the only species that acts violently for no reason. What reason does a man have to randomly abuse or kill a woman? Look at bull fighting, or dog fighting. These are things that are human incarnations of violence for the purpose of entertainment. Animals act violently out of defense, for survival, or because of disease (rabies).

Again, the reason for this is because animals do not have reasonable though processes. They only ever act instinctively except in cases of sickness. This is where humans are different from animals.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461782)

We are the only species that acts violently for no reason. What reason does a man have to randomly abuse or kill a woman?

Rape is not unique to homo sapiens.

These are things that are human incarnations of violence for the purpose of entertainment.

I take it you've never watched a cat play with a mouse before killing it?

Re:Oh jeez (1)

unr3a1 (1264666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461940)

Rape is not unique to homo sapiens.

While the literal definition of "rape" is not unique to humans, the REASON behind the act is still different only for humans. The animal "raping" another is not doing it for his own personal gain. He is acting INSTINCTIVELY. He can't control it. Humans can.

I take it you've never watched a cat play with a mouse before killing it?

Cats play with a mouse not for "fun" but to improve their hunting skills. It's a learning technique.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461994)

So how many cats did you interview for your study to determine what their motivations are?

Re:Oh jeez (1)

lupinstel (792700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462158)

If they already caught the mouse they are playing with, what more do they need to learn?

Re:Oh jeez (0, Troll)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462188)

Cats play with a mouse not for "fun" but to improve their hunting skills. It's a learning technique.

Humans are violent not for "fun" but to improve their defense, survival skills. It's a learning technique.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462232)

PS. My cat has plenty of food. Still hunts, still plays with almost dead prey even if it has visibly no intention whatsoever of eating it. But having a toy which desperately tries to escape brings very clear joy.

Re:Oh jeez (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461860)

We are the only species that acts violently for no reason. What reason does a man have to randomly abuse or kill a woman? Look at bull fighting, or dog fighting. These are things that are human incarnations of violence for the purpose of entertainment. Animals act violently out of defense, for survival, or because of disease (rabies).

First of all, I'd contest that violence has no reason. The reason may not be good (objectively or subjectively), but I'd say that only truly insane individuals become violent for no reason.

Beyond that, there is at least one other species out there that appears to be nearly as violent as we are, and that's chimpanzees. They've been recorded attacking members of their own tribe, perhaps as punishment (though we can never be quite sure), beating them to death (I saw one harrowing attack on a documentary where they literally ripped the genitals off one). Violence is used by dominant members to put lower members in line. Most chilling of all are several documented cases of wild chimp tribes making war on neighboring tribes.

You're doing what I'd call reverse-anthropomorphization, you're ascribing to humans certain behaviors which you insist must somehow be special from other animals. It's a form of special pleading, really. Suffice it to say humans use violence as means to an end, and at least some other species use it for the same reason.

Re:Oh jeez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32462134)

Violence has always existed among animals, however we are the first to recognize it as what it is.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462142)

Look at correlations between people who "chose" to be violent and their background / enviroment which shaped them.

You being (most likely) a not violent, "civilised" human is mostly an instinctive response to your enviroment, type of social interactions you were immensed in for a long, long time.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462168)

Compelling arguments, but your facts are entirely wrong.

Cows have reasonable thoughts too. They just aren't as intricate or intelligent as ours. When it's cold and the wind is blowing into the cow's face, sometimes it will turn around to keep its face warm, and sometimes it will decide to keep eating its hay. Point being, if non-human animals behavior was based purely on instinct, then they would do exactly the same thing, every time, in a given set of conditions. And they don't.

Just because a life form is not as smart as you does not mean that it does not have thoughts.

And we'd run into the same problem with highly advanced species. If we were as dumb to them as cows are to us, then the same intelligence gap would exist. And it's extremely likely that, unless the aliens were non-aggressive and prone to study everything in-depth, they'd treat us similarly to the way we treat cattle - -namely, we're dumb animals unless someone's hungry, in which case we taste pretty good.

BTW, chimpanzees act violently for "no reason" as well. As do cats, dogs, and many other species. And I put "no reason" in quotes because there's always a reason for the violence. We may not understand it, but there is a reason.

I'm really not sure where you got the idea that animals only ever act instinctively except in cases of sickness. Why would they suddenly acquire the capacity for rational thought just because they get a virus?

All animals act instinctively, including humans. Many animals also add a rationality component to their actions. Not to the degree that humans do, but it is there. You can see it all over. Even squirrels are capable of problem solving:

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80644294/ [ebaumsworld.com]

Re:Oh jeez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461750)

The rest of the animal kingdom kills when it's hungry and eats what it kills. Humans kill because the victim believed in a different fairy tale, had the wrong color skin, lived on the wrong side of an imaginary line on a map, wore the wrong gang colors, or in some cases just for the hell of it.

Re:Oh jeez (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461882)

The rest of the animal kingdom kills when it's hungry and eats what it kills

You've never owned a cat, have you?

Re:Oh jeez (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461500)

I think that any form of life that has to compete for resources would favour the evolution of a "propensity to violence".

Re:Oh jeez (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461650)

Try pissing off a Chimpanzee or a Baboon sometime, if you want to see what a real "propensity to violence" looks like!

Re:Oh jeez (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461834)

They'd probably just run away from you unless you cornered them.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461958)

Really? [cnn.com]

Re:Oh jeez (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461494)

They behave instinctively whereas humans are able to make decisions from reasonable thought.

There are things in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. They're vast, timeless, and if they're aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants, and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us. We know, we've tried, and we've learned that we can either stay out from underfoot or be stepped on. - G'Kar

Re:Oh jeez (1)

sea4ever (1628181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462030)

There are things in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. They're vast, timeless, and if they're aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants, and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us. We know, we've tried, and we've learned that we can either stay out from underfoot or be stepped on. - G'Kar

I am the Overmind, the eternal will of the Swarm, and I approve this message.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462032)

Strictly speaking, cattle aren't a resource, but a means of transforming resources. Quite inneficient one, even when compared to other demesticated mammals or specifically ruminants.

And they behave like that because we bred that behaviour into them. Not that it's bad per se, even from their "point of view" - heck, being tasty to us makes them one of the most evolutionary succesful large land animals. At least for now.

Re:Oh jeez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461546)

If they've seen any recent television, could you blame them for thinking that?

Re:Oh jeez (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461606)

If their first contact was with my wife, they would rightly conclude that we do indeed have nothing interesting to say!

Re:Oh jeez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461876)

The same could be said of humanity being discovered by more advanced beings. They would treat us as we treat cattle. A resource with nothing interesting to say.

As evidenced by Twitter.

Re:Oh jeez (1, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461284)

Nonense. If it weren't for us, many species (that probably deserve to) would probably have already went extinct. Does anyone think the Pandas would still be around if we weren't constantly working to try to get them to mate? It's taken more effort to get those things to reproduce than it took with Tom Cruise, for crying out loud. Seriously, if your species needs Viagra to stay viable, it's probably nature's way of saying your species just wasn't meant to be.

Re:Oh jeez (1, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461520)

Well I don't know about you, but I probably wouldn't like being locked up and forced to have sex with some ugly fat chick..

Re:Oh jeez (1)

g253 (855070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461638)

But if you were locked up anyway, you'd probably be glad to have the ugly fat chick around.

Re:Oh jeez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461718)

Come on be fair!!

That's probably the only kind of sex some of the Slashdotters here would get!!

Re:Oh jeez (1)

al.caughey (1426989) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462004)

And she's probably your cousin... which probably still accurately describes some /.er's sex lives

Re:Oh jeez (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462214)

You better not be talkin' bout my kin again.

Re:Oh jeez (1, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461572)

Sure, their reduction in number couldn't possibly have anything to do with the vast reduction in habitat caused by human activity! And their lack of hetero sex drive couldn't possibly be due to stresses caused by overcrowding and human activity, so siree! Just because pandas survived for millions of years before humans became so numerous in their vicinity doesn't imply any causal relationship between their precipitous decline and the corresponding rise in human population, it is obviously due to the fact that they are unfit to survive and destined to fail, it's just taken a few million years for the effect to kick in.

Re:Oh jeez (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461922)

What a lot of people don't seem to grasp is that any impact human beings have on another species in this manner is also part of nature. Many humans have a God complex in which they tend to separate themselves from the animal kingdom. While we may be capable of thought and reason, that is simply something that evolution has lent us over time. Any impact we make on the environment continues to be natural in its origins.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461896)

Please tell me you're being funny and are only pretending to be clueless as to how these species ended up in the situations that required us to save them.

Re:Oh jeez (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461924)

We're in the middle of one of the most rapid extinction events in the history of this planet, generally speaking.

Accidentally, it kicked in when we really got the hang of the place...

Re:Oh jeez (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461486)

Especially if they are sitting on top of "exploitable resources".

Re:Oh jeez (1)

Reapman (740286) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461692)

Insightful? I know we seem rather big and important to you.. but honestly, we're not (on universe or "anywhere") type scale. Assuming for a moment that other life forms even exist out there, and assuming that there are some at various stages of development, you REALLY TRULY can not think of anything worse then Humans?

I don't think we're as special.. either in a good way or a bad way.. as you think we are.

Re:Oh jeez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461952)

pelican fly

Re:Oh jeez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32462146)

that's true; we'd either eat them, enslave them or sex them.

Re:Oh jeez (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462222)

I for one just hope these new life forms are tasty when deep fried.

Luckily, new mission maybe quite soon (relatively) (5, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461202)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_Mare_Explorer [wikipedia.org] (hopefully not postponed to be part of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_Saturn_System_Mission [wikipedia.org] )

Titan, and Saturn system generally, is a really big thing for our distant future. People like to imagine the colonisation of Jupiter system, but the radiation belts there make it not exactly feasible; only Callisto out of 4 big moons might be fine. Saturn doesn't have this problem; is still decently close and with huge system of moons.
Discovery of life on Titan might of course complicate things...OTOH, with it (if any) being probably so vastly different, there's little risk of crosscontamination in either direction.

Re:Luckily, new mission maybe quite soon (relative (1)

Vekseid (1528215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461352)

Titan, however, has the problem of being damned cold. I don't think it's a given that radiation is harder to deal with than that amount of greenhouse engineering.

Re:Luckily, new mission maybe quite soon (relative (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461568)

That is its only major problem though (well, that and the atmosphere being highly toxic to humans - essentially with the addition of...Zyklon B). Other than that it offers protection, stability of conditions, "zero pressure difference" (ok, you would probably want to maintain a slight overpressure inside the base, due to toxicity - together with the cold outside that might make any leaks largely self-closing); greatly simplifying things compared to many other places, so you can concentrate easily on thermal isolation.
We already have bases in the Antarctic, and with tech progress...

BTW, you probably don't want to warm whole moon - unless you intend to have a waterworld.

Re:Luckily, new mission maybe quite soon (relative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461618)

that and the atmosphere being highly toxic to humans - essentially with the addition of...Zyklon B

Sweet, when can we send all the kikes there?

Re:Luckily, new mission maybe quite soon (relative (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461840)

Knowing our luck, we're going to just crash some crap into Titan, either killing off whatever lives there or starting a war with it.

Now this razor was made by a fella named Occam (1)

Yergle143 (848772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461258)

Come on. This is so weak and wrong. Now if you excuse me I'm going to go make myself a hydrogen and acetylene sandwich.

Re:Now this razor was made by a fella named Occam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32462064)

Science does not work that way.

Upstart monkeys (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461288)

Attempt no landings there, either.

Re:Upstart monkeys (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461712)

Or over there. That spot, that spot right there? that spot is right out!

2010 (1)

jerkmark (944142) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461300)

All these worlds are yours, except Titan. Attempt no landings there.

Methane-based Overlords (4, Funny)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461338)

I, for one welco...ah, screw it.

Re:Methane-based Overlords (1)

Rusty KB (1778458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461412)

I don't. They smell.

Re:Methane-based Overlords (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462172)

They are titanic. When they are present you dont want to tell them that they smell, that would be racist, or humanist, or something similar, And you definately dont want to play, swim, or specially sink with them.

All It Is (1)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461574)

Nothing down there but Chrono and the blue birds.

In related news... (1)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461600)

...signs of zombies were discovered on Planet Earth when there was a distinct absence of intelligence in recent observation. This would indicate the presence of brain-eating zombies, as all their feeding mechanisms drain intelligence from the local biosphere.

(sorry, couldn't help it.)

Yea yea yea - the important question is ... (1)

DeadJesusRodeo (1813846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461602)

How does it taste?

Re:Yea yea yea - the important question is ... (1)

Bugamn (1769722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461646)

Tastes like chicken.

Re:Yea yea yea - the important question is ... (1)

city (1189205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462218)

mmmmmm methane-based hydrogen fed chicken

Wasn't there an AC Clark book about this? (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32461616)

I seem to remember a movie, also, something about a computer run amok and life on one of the moons near Saturn... ...or was it Jupiter?

Re:Wasn't there an AC Clark book about this? (2, Informative)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462180)

The original printing of the book 2001, they went to Saturn. In the film they went to Jupiter. After seeing the film Clarke thought that made more sense, so he wrote the sequel based on the film, not his book.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A_Space_Odyssey_(novel)#Differences_from_the_film [wikipedia.org]

As far as I care, it's fair game as long as it isn't Europa. We should attempt no landings there.

Obligatory Stargate Reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461720)

Now McKay can get the 2nd gate from Area 51 placed on there. Well wait, that won't work, Stargates target via gravity wells and Titan isn't large enough to target from the gate system, too much noise.

Well maybe he could contact the Asgar... oh wait.

Take off every 'zig' !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32461870)

You know what you doing.
Move 'zig'.
For great justice.

Don't fall for it! (1)

PatboyX (968493) | more than 4 years ago | (#32462112)

That's just a pool that has life painted on the bottom.
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