Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Cassini Probe Sees Plastic Ingredient On Titan Moon

timothy posted about a year ago | from the windblown-grocery-bags dept.

Space 71

Ron024 writes "The Cassini probe has detected propene, or propylene, on Saturn's moon Titan. It is the first definitive detection of the plastic ingredient on any moon or planet, other than our home world, says the U.S. space agency (NASA). The discovery, made by Cassini's infrared spectrometer, is reported in Astrophysical Journal Letters [abstract]."

cancel ×

71 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Clearly man made (1)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year ago | (#45002407)

It was probably one of those plastic 6-pack holders.

Re:Clearly man made (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45002457)

It was probably one of those plastic 6-pack holders.

I was thinking used condoms but your guess is good too.

Re:Clearly man made (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45002637)

It was probably one of those plastic 6-pack holders.

Not man-made.

Redneck aliens drinking Buttwiper.

Re:Clearly man made (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45002727)

Yes. Those Titans are a bunch of litterbugs.

Re:Clearly man made (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#45002839)

It was the Tupperware the pudding came in.

Re:Clearly man made (0)

rwise2112 (648849) | about a year ago | (#45002849)

Clearly man made

So, a "That's no moon!" quote is actually appropriate here.

Re:Clearly man made (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45003585)

Or that the monoliths are made of polymers...

Re:Clearly man made (1)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#45003639)

I believe the Death Star was made of mostly metal.

Re:Clearly man made (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45005039)

I believe the Death Star was made of mostly metal.

You probably believe that it is "mostly" impervious to attack, too. Just wait until those uppity rebels show you what happens when you assume.

Re:Clearly man made (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45006249)

If they're calling it the Death Star you'd better believe it's metal

Re:Clearly man made (1)

wooferhound (546132) | about a year ago | (#45020645)

But the Storm troopers had plastic suits . . .

... untold environmental consequences ... (4, Funny)

dogsbreath (730413) | about a year ago | (#45003209)

... when migrating aliens get their heads ( er ... extended body parts? ) caught in these 6 pack devil traps and can no longer execute their primary function:

** probing anal orifices **

A sad discovery indeed.

Re:Clearly man made (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a year ago | (#45003701)

It's really sad how all those red-neck astronauts just throw their litter out the shuttle window, isn't it?

Re:Clearly man made (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45006081)

If it had been Europa rather than Titan...

"My God! It's full of plastic!"

Not necessarily MAN-made... (1)

SST-206 (699646) | about a year ago | (#45015303)

cf. Roadside Picnic [wikipedia.org] :

The artifacts and phenomena left behind by the Visitors in the Zones were garbage, discarded and forgotten

really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45002475)

The last time I read about a plastic ingredient found in space, it was on Mars and the article had a picture of the Mardi Gras beads found by one of the rovers there. Maybe this time is legit.

Re:really? (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about a year ago | (#45003403)

Stop believing Onion articles, even if you want to believe.

Not this again... (4, Informative)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year ago | (#45002483)

Doesn't anyone remember the last time we found plastic on another planet [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Not this again... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45002559)

Jesus fucking nigger Christ! I just farted out of my very own asshole, and no one else's! It can't be probable!

Re:Not this again... (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45002679)

Don't forget the methane on Mars, that was found and then un-found.

Re:Not this again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45002803)

Doesn't anyone remember the last time we found plastic on another planet [slashdot.org] ?

The Crying Indian by the side of the road has a tear in his eye for Mars and Titan.

Re:Not this again... (4, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#45002825)

It's not that implausible in the case of Titan. The moon is covered with hydrocarbons, it would be more suprising if none of those hydrocarbons were unsaturated. And that's all we're really talking about, individual propane monomers that have had a couple hydrogens knocked off. They're not even claiming to have found polypropylene.

Re:Not this again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45003309)

A moon with literal oceans of hydrocarbons?

Quick! Somebody liberate the place! They need freedom!

Re:Not this again... (1)

Karl Phillip Buhr (2914225) | about a year ago | (#45003733)

Coruscant, Tatooin and Naboo to name a few! Oh wait.. those weren't actually real...

Re:Not this again... (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about a year ago | (#45009105)

Try to RTFA.

It is not about "OMG we found propylene!!!". It is about the fact that we *did* find a lot of c3 hydrocarbones on Titan, but we didn't see the propylene, the simplest c3 hydrocarbone, before. Which was weird.

Re:Not this again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45022665)

You mean the one where it brought you to a site built to look like the nasa website, but is on a third-party domain? That was a BS story.

"Aliens" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45002503)

"Aliens"

Re:"Aliens" (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about a year ago | (#45006299)

No, Hank Hill. He sells propene and propene accessories.

Cow Farts found on Saturn (2)

Tator Tot (1324235) | about a year ago | (#45002557)

"Today, NASA has found the remnants of cow flatulence on Saturn. Scientists call this mysterious gas "methane". According to these scientists, methane contains one carbon and 4 hydrogens. How exactly did this "methane" made it's way to Saturn? We are sure the scientists are working vigorously to find out."

Re:Cow Farts found on Saturn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45003527)

Once the government shutdown is over.

I hope the Cassini disposes of it properly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45002617)

Don't just chuck it into the garbage can where it will end up under some golf course.

Space station (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#45002631)

Titan looks like it could be a pretty interesting moon for building a space station. The atmospheric pressure is only 1.45 times of that on Earth meaning you could have the habitat pressure equalized with the atmosphere so pressure isn't a concern. If there is water trapped under ice as is speculated, we could produce oxygen for breathing and mix it with the plentiful nitrogen to make air similar to what we have on Earth. I don't know how much light reaches the surface, probably too little to be of use for solar so power generation would have to be from a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG). Too bad there isn't any oxygen otherwise all that methane would be pretty damn useful for power and heat.

Re:Space station (1)

ezrec (29765) | about a year ago | (#45002809)

I think there's plenty of oxygen. The trick is to find a way to extract the O2 from the water ice (hopefully there is a percentage of O2 that is simply dissolved in the ice instead of having to use electrolysis) to make it advantageous to burn it with the methane for power.

The equation should end up as the following for a viable mission using methane as a fuel:

Heat cost of producing O2 < Heat generated by burning O2 with atmospheric methane.

Re:Space station (1)

tsa (15680) | about a year ago | (#45003365)

You can't burn O2. You need O2 to burn methane.

Re:Space station (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45003985)

That's what ezrec said...
BTW, I like alcohol too.

Re:Space station (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#45004971)

"burn it with the methane" - I don't really understand how you misread that.

Re:Space station (1)

tsa (15680) | about a year ago | (#45005895)

You burn methane, not O2. I guess for a non-chemist that's nitpicking though.

Re:Space station (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year ago | (#45003465)

I do not think there would be any oxygen dissolved in the ice. That oxygen would have to have come from the atmosphere, not from the molecules. If anything, there would be dissolved methane trapped in the ice.

No, I think that your only source of oxygen would be from electrolysis. But one should safely assume that any space station capable of succeeding anywhere, would have to be build with the capability of producing excesses of energy (nuclear or chemical).

Who knows, by then we may have a relay of satellites that focus and transmit solar energy.

BRB while I patent my Solar Heat Attenuated Radiation Konveyor - Laser array.

Re:Space station (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45005939)

Keep your Great White light away from my moon!

On a sun sat relay to Titan... (1)

Herve5 (879674) | about a year ago | (#45006287)

I fear relaying Sun towards Titan is at least as vain as the famous James Bond sun-focussing sat in whatever episode it was: very simple calculations starting from the Sun diameter show that given the distances involved, with ordinary optics you at best double the ordinary power (1 Kw/m2 -> 2Kw/m2 on Earth -nothing like an explosive setup).
If anything, given the huge distances and our not-huge-satellite-size capacity, this factor would be lower on Titan. Now, as you say, there remains the laser. But then you have to factor conversion losses in, unless you find a way to directly use sunlight as the exciting light.
All of this sounds very theoretical IMHO I vote for your nuclear generator ;-)

Re:Space station (1)

luckymutt (996573) | about a year ago | (#45003069)

...If there is water trapped under ice as is speculated, we could produce oxygen for breathing and mix it with the plentiful nitrogen to make air similar to what we have on Earth.

Too bad there isn't any oxygen otherwise all that methane would be pretty damn useful for power and heat.

Looks like you just solved the problem?

Re:Space station (2)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#45004101)

The problem is you can't get a neat gain from burning methane + O2 and using that energy to make more O2 and have energy left over. You would need an abundant supply of oxygen or a method of splitting water that is more efficient.

Re:Space station (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#45004129)

Or, I just thought about it. If the station were big enough I wonder if a sufficient amount of oxygen could be generated by plants. Then you may be able to get a surplus but then you still need night energy for the plants to grow. Its an interesting thought.

Re:Space station (1)

anyanka (1953414) | about a year ago | (#45005407)

Which means, basically, using solar power – and if there's enough for the plants, there is likely enough for other purposes as well. And you'll need carbon dioxide (which is, apparently, available in trace amounts, which is perhaps enough).

Re:Space station (2)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#45006197)

No, solar power won't even work at Jupiter, much less Saturn. The amount of solar panel necessary to eliminate the RTG on Galileo would have made the spacecraft so enormous that it wouldn't have been stable enough for photography in Jupiter's gravity field. Saturn is even further out, receiving even less sunlight. At that distance you're stuck with nuclear power or some other more exotic energy source. Since both Jupiter and Saturn are surrounded by powerful energy fields perhaps there would be some way to tap that with a tether or something. Solar won't do it.

Re:Space station (1)

anyanka (1953414) | about a year ago | (#45006761)

Yes. I seem to remember someone comparing the light levels to moonlight – but can't remember if that was Saturn or Jupiter, or perhaps even closer.

Oh good (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#45002641)

Now I can bring my 3D printer along when I vacation there.

Re:Oh good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45002695)

LOL excellent! Don't forget to bring blankets, it's a bit cold there! And a flashlight.

great for marketing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45002693)

"Made with ALL NATURAL propylene!"

It's from the USA (0, Troll)

Theophile (535535) | about a year ago | (#45002731)

As all good environmentalists will tell you, all pollution on Earth is generated from the USA. All trash on other planets must be there because of the USA. If it got there within the last few years, it is Bush's fault. Therefore a new tax must be levied on the US by the citizens of Earth (and citizens of Cassini) to force the greedy capitalist pigs to provide union labor to do trash collection on Cassini, fix man-made global warming on Cassini, and restore it to an Eden-like state.

Re:It's from the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45002981)

That's amazing. Do you use a script to generate these sentences?

Re:It's from the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45003297)

Cassini is the probe, you moron. Titan is the moon.

Re:It's from the USA (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#45004183)

The USA generates a significant portion of trash and pollution (and it refuses to reduce this amount because it would affect the economy), but AFAIK it is still behind China.

Re:It's from the USA (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#45005167)

The USA generates a significant portion of trash and pollution (and it refuses to reduce this amount because it would affect the economy), but AFAIK it is still behind China.

This is /. Please stop using facts to interfere with USA bashing.

Beware of Autons (3, Funny)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#45002845)

You know what this means? The Nestene Consciousness is probably living there with its army of Autons. Someone call the Doctor!

Carlin was right (3, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year ago | (#45002913)

Planets want plastic and we evolved to make lots of it. So get over your "save the planet" BS and start giving the planet more plastic.
We should create a Kickstarter to send a shipment to Titan which while working hard to make it's own, clearly would be happy with much more.

Re:Carlin was right (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a year ago | (#45003709)

But wouldn't it make Earth unhappy if we shipped its hard-earned plastic to a neighboring planet's moon?

Re:Carlin was right (1)

Notabadguy (961343) | about a year ago | (#45003917)

I think you're mistaken.

An empty plastic container on the side of the road on Earth is littering. What this really means is that the species that preceded us as life in our solar system were also litterers. There are several interesting results of this discovery.

1. The EPA will now find a reason to send an expedition to Titan to find out what intergalactic race left their plastic refuse on the surface with the intent of fining them. They'll likely attempt to date the plastic and retroactively apply the fine (with interest) to the original date of littering, justifying their expedition on the premise that the fine will make everyone on earth trillionaires. This will likely result in our first - and last - interstellar war and the extinction of humanity.

2. Before the "Plastic Crusade" reaches it's inevitable conclusion, anyone who gets caught littering can now plead "not guilty" with judges with the explanation that the aliens that seeded our planet with life were litterers and that we've been genetically coded to litter - so it's not our fault.

Hogan was right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45003047)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_the_Lifemaker

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45003123)

This came out over six months ago.
Nice try.

Water bottle (2)

p51d007 (656414) | about a year ago | (#45003437)

Perhaps Marvin the Martian took out his trash and dumped it on Titan?

Re:Water bottle (1)

VanessaE (970834) | about a year ago | (#45016495)

No, see, when the Enterprise emerged from warp, they did a quick trash dump just before leaving the atmosphere.

Universal Will to Become (1)

imatter (2749965) | about a year ago | (#45003547)

UWTB explains it all.

Chewbacca is suspect (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#45003571)

Likely it's discarded trash from deep-fried Ewoks-on-a-stick. How is this not obvious?

Where do I sign up for 'Adopt A Planet' (1)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#45003635)

There is life on other worlds and they're using Titan for a garbage dump!

I made it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45003757)

Almost unbelievable, my LEGO ROCKET made it to Titan's Moon!

Yay! I'm a fucking hero!

I know who left it there (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year ago | (#45003775)

The Sirens [wikipedia.org] Didn't clean up too well after getting the critical repair part from Earth.

Alien's trash discovered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45003807)

It must be the plastic in that surface tablet that was dumped with other trash by aliens passing by.

Uh oh ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45003815)

Petrochemicals on a moon ... now America can go in and 'liberate' them from oppression since there's money to be had.

Expect US industry to start drawing up plans to frack Titan.

Uh oh (3, Funny)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about a year ago | (#45005645)

So aliens use plastic too eh? Greenpeace is going to have a fit...

Aliens (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#45010269)

Yeah, we found proof of alien industrial pollution

And since we found no cooper wire on the surface, it means they also master radio communications!

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>