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Monster Storm Reveals Water On Saturn

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the cassini-is-the-best-probe dept.

Space 31

cold fjord sends this news from NASA: "A monster storm that erupted on Saturn in late 2010 – as large as any storm ever observed on the ringed planet -- has already impressed researchers with its intensity and long-lived turbulence. A new paper in the journal Icarus reveals another facet of the storm's explosive power: its ability to churn up water ice from great depths. This finding, derived from near-infrared measurements by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, is the first detection at Saturn of water ice. The water originates from deep in Saturn's atmosphere. 'The new finding from Cassini shows that Saturn can dredge up material from more than 100 miles [160 kilometers],' said Kevin Baines, a co-author of the paper who works at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. 'It demonstrates in a very real sense that typically demure-looking Saturn can be just as explosive or even more so than typically stormy Jupiter.'"

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Water? Oh, good! (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44761205)

That means we can land there and live and farm and ... be magnetized by the hugely dense magnetic field. Oof.

no subsidy for you!

Re:Water? Oh, good! (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about a year ago | (#44761795)

Hmm.. We can become Magneto?

Re:Water? Oh, good! (4, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#44761827)

What, exactly are we going to land on?

theres no liquid or solid surface, at least for a long way down where the pressure is so high that even a bathysphere that could dive to the deepest part of earths ocean would be crushed
we'd be better off exploring and colonizing the moons and rings

Re:Water? Oh, good! (0)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about a year ago | (#44761953)

The ICE, duh! Didn't your RTFA? Oh, wait, this is Slashdot.

Re:Water? Oh, good! (2)

sir-gold (949031) | about a year ago | (#44763145)

Just because there is ice, it doesn't mean that the ice is actually sitting ON something. It could be more like a perpetual hail storm, where the ice is being constantly lifted and dropped by the storm

Re:Water? Oh, good! (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about a year ago | (#44764121)

The humor, you missed it.

Re:Water? Oh, good! (4, Informative)

drkim (1559875) | about a year ago | (#44763631)

The ICE, duh! Didn't your RTFA? Oh, wait, this is Slashdot.

The gas-liquid-solid gets thicker and thicker as you go down. The pressure gets so great that the hydrogen molecules get their electrons squeezed out of them, which means that the hydrogen becomes a sea of freezing liquid metal.

Re:Water? Oh, good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44773957)

That is exactly what the aliens want you to think.

There is a planet there man.. The whole clouds and ring thing is just a projection so that we do not try to go there and bother them.

Where do you think the Atlantians went? Wake the fuck up.

Re:Water? Oh, good! (1)

Brandano (1192819) | about a year ago | (#44761973)

Gas giant, so I guess not. Perhaps we could float on its outer edge and mine for tibanna gas.

Re:Water? Oh, good! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762419)

My good people you look like 3 year olds interpreting the meaning of words: a gas giant can have many other things besides gas, like, uhmm I don't know: a solid planet can have many other things other than solids? (Hint: Breath).

Re:Water? Oh, good! (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#44762509)

My good people you look like 3 year olds interpreting the meaning of words: a gas giant can have many other things besides gas, like, uhmm I don't know: a solid planet can have many other things other than solids? (Hint: Breath).

I can't say I've heard of a "solid planet". I have heard of rocky planets with an atmosphere though. Just what do you plan to land on, on Saturn? I suppose you could get lucky and find something being tossed around in the atmosphere, but good luck with that. You sure as hell aren't going to land on anything solid like a core. The last I checked it is probably metallic hydrogen surrounded by liquid hydrogen. It's unlikely we will ever have the technology to build anything that can reach that and remain intact, let alone "land".

Re:Water? Oh, good! (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about a year ago | (#44763157)

There is a sci-fi book called "The Clouds of Saturn," by Michael McCollum, where everyone lives in massive airships filled with superheated hydrogen (basically the same idea as a hot-air ballon, but much much bigger)

So, those are bathtub rings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761239)

Topic left after the brain drain.

Water Ice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761489)

Is "water ice" anything like "cheese food"?
Like how "cheese food" is not really cheese and is arguably not really food, is "water ice" not really water and arguably not ice?

Re:Water Ice? (3, Informative)

Brandano (1192819) | about a year ago | (#44761997)

Actually, talking about planets the term "ice" is often used to describe the solid form of other substances, most commonly frozen CO2. and even in the case of water, the common everyday ice is only one of two possible solid states for water. I presume the high pressure, tightly packed and heavier than (liquid) water solid form isprobably called "heavy ice"?

Re:Water Ice? (5, Informative)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about a year ago | (#44762123)

I presume the high pressure, tightly packed and heavier than (liquid) water solid form isprobably called "heavy ice"?

There are 15 known [wikipedia.org] solid phases of water. They're called things like Ice-III.

Re:Water Ice? (2)

washort (6555) | about a year ago | (#44762407)

Ice-IX is less exciting than one might hope.

Re:Water Ice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44762571)

Ice-IX is less exciting than one might hope.

Rather chilling, in fact.

Re:Water Ice? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44765555)

*Applaud*

Some storm... (1)

edrobinson (976396) | about a year ago | (#44761497)

but I'm not convinced that the IR image shows either water ice or ammonia.

So no taco bell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761631)

otherwise it would be a storm on uranus....

(yeah, i'll go, no need to throw windows8 dvd's at me...)

Re:So no taco bell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44763559)

There may not be a need to throw them, but it's fun, so run!

100 miles?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44761751)

'The new finding from Cassini shows that Saturn can dredge up material from more than 100 miles [160 kilometers],'
doesn't this seem like a really unremarkable measurement considering the size of Saturn. In comparison it would be like finding out a storm on earth had had an effect on the atmosphere 10 km above it...unless i'm getting the scale/impact wrong it seems like a completely underwhelming scale.

Re:100 miles?? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#44761929)

Are you forgetting that this is also many many millions and millions of miles away and something we never have seen before? and did i mention its millions of miles away??

Expecting gas and got something solid? (1)

atouk (1336461) | about a year ago | (#44762079)

I guess it's true, even for the Gods. Never trust a fart.

Exclusive ownership (2)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a year ago | (#44762141)

The book "The Hubble Wars" mentions all material one gets from using the Hubble can be held for a year before being released.
(So they can find the next big thing and not some computer geek using Photoshop, abbreviated term: /.'er)

This event is two/three years old, Guess different craft, different contracts for release.

Re:Exclusive ownership (3, Informative)

darenw (74015) | about a year ago | (#44763065)

Yup. Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer explained it well. What goes for Hubble, goes pretty much the same for Cassini (I know, I worked for CICLOPS) and for many other planetary missions.

http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/badhst.html [badastronomy.com]

Not a fair comparison (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44763169)

We don't have much orbiting Jupiter taking nice closeups right now.

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