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Waves Spotted On Titan

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the lakeside-property-for-sale dept.

Space 73

minty3 writes "Planetary scientists believe they have observed waves rippling on one of Titan's seas. The findings, presented on March 17 at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, describes how the Cassini spacecraft captured images of sunlight glinting off the Punga Mare (abstract), suggesting they are not reflective sunlight but waves." The Planetary Society recently posted a nice breakdown of the basics about Titan's lakes: "To flow with liquid, those river valleys must have been filled with methane that came from higher elevations; it had to rain methane on Titan. Rainfall runs off, and then what? It must pool somewhere. What we learned from the Cassini orbiter at Saturn is that there are lakes on Titan. ... Rainfall, river runoff, lakes, evaporation into clouds, rainfall again. Cassini has seen clouds make storms on Titan. We have seen the whole cycle -- it's just like Earth's water cycle, but with a completely different substance [methane], and much, much colder."

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Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (4, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#46520513)

There are probably some tardigrade-like creatures living here we would have difficulty recognizing as life.

Seriously, Neil Degrasse Tyson is not unwatchable.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (3, Interesting)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46520579)

Two quick points.

(1) Yeah, the first thing I thought to myself was, "Yeah, I watched Cosmos this week too."

(2) I was initially surprised by the fact there wasn't more outrage over Cosmos tipping over conservative apple carts, but it then occured to me that everyone who would be offended by Cosmos was probably self-selecting to not watch anyway. Probably a lot of preaching to the choir going on on Sunday morning and night now. :(

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46520623)

It's about the fence sitters, and the kids.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46523015)

Im a fence shitter. The weeds are too tall and anyway , a little doggy came along and ate it. No harm , no foul.
I dont do it for the kids though, I do it so Ill quit farting.
Public service.
I guess that makes this a public service message.
When you have to shit, and theres no toilet. Sit on the fence, wipe on some weeds.* make sure you know poison ivy from ragweed first*

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (1)

Hentai (165906) | about 8 months ago | (#46524919)

Do you think that people who disapprove of science are going to let their kids watch a science show?

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 8 months ago | (#46520791)

I was initially surprised by the fact there wasn't more outrage over Cosmos tipping over conservative apple carts

Drop in on the IMDB.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46520957)

I'll take a look, but as long as it's at the level of IMDB squabbles, it's still well, well, below the level of "catastrophic shitstorm" that I suspected after last week.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 8 months ago | (#46521041)

Yeah, I hear you. Interesting story about censorship in Oklahoma: http://arstechnica.com/science... [arstechnica.com]

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46521311)

Sounds like it really was an accident. And outrage on IMDB? pfft... 90% of the ridiculous posts I read I just assume are made by the time cube guy. Seriously, crazy self obsessed people have a lot of time on their hands. Their influence on the course of debate on the Internet is far too strong.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46521987)

And that's probably why I'm going to stop watching Cosmos. There's nothing there new for me, I'm not the type to just sit around slack-jawed because some media celebrity is telling me what I already now, and the ideological bias is becoming pretty plain. It's a political show disguised as science show.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46523007)

It's only a matter of time before Neil Degrasse Tyson comes out of the closet on air, or narrates some computer animated male xenomorph dry humping another male. It's all the rage in hollywood these days.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (1)

Ranbot (2648297) | about 8 months ago | (#46524209)

And that's probably why I'm going to stop watching Cosmos. There's nothing there new for me, I'm not the type to just sit around slack-jawed because some media celebrity is telling me what I already now...

I agree, but highly scientifically-educated people probably isn't the target audience. Cosmos has to appeal to a broader audience, which probably has less scientific background and knowledge than the average reader of Slashdot's science stories. The show is a good level for middle-school and high-school kids too. If I had a child who showed any interest in Cosmos, I'd be damn sure to sit down with them and watch every week, even if I was a little bored at times.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46527737)

We've got two kids in the house still. 13 and 15. They're watching, because they don't get a choice. :)

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46521793)

So we'd have difficulty recognizing it as life, but you know what it would look like?

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (5, Informative)

delt0r (999393) | about 8 months ago | (#46522787)

I know this is always a popular theme. Life may not be as we know it. However proper analisis makes it less likely than water based carbon life for a number of reasons. Methane as the base solvent however works at lot better that the reaching silicon based life suggestions.

Quite simply you need some form of universal solvent to provide mobility to produced compounds. Water is just so hard to beat for this. Methane is not polar so at the very least "life" would not be able to use hydrophilic/Hydrophobic properties of base building blocks to control structure. Note this is not just used to fold proteins, but also the formation of bi lipid membranes. In fact it is postulated that the first stages of life was the spontaneous formation of such membranes.

Then there is the temperature problem. Liquid methane is cold. Really cold. A lot of reaction are just not going to happen at all at these temperatures. So having a viable metabolism would be challenging.

But carbon based life is certainly a lot more plausible in methane than these silly silicone based life forms everyone likes to suggest. For a start silicon does not form lots of stable compounds with itself and other elements. Unlike carbon. It does not oxides into easily removed/dissolved compounds. There is no effective solvent for most longer chain silicones ..etc.

And the real kicker is that a planet that has silicon will also have carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen etc around as well. Temperatures where complex compounds/chains are stable but interesting reactions also happen tend to be close to where water is a liquid. Also don't forget just how much of the current elements are essential to life. Its often more than people think. http://umbbd.ethz.ch/periodic/ [umbbd.ethz.ch]

Bottom line is that water is practically magical in its solvent like properties and carbon is a freaking miracle. Its hard to see where they can be beat or anything else can come even remotely close.

But even carbon based life in water has vast scope to be very different to us. Even the hard sci fi gets this totally wrong (alien life will not be food that is for sure. Biocompatibility == 0). It may not be amino acids that are the blocks of whatever passes as proteins. Even if it is it will not be the same ones and almost definitely not 20 like we have. Instead of DNA is could be something quite different (but there will be some information store, we know that). There may not be any RNA like intermediary. In fact if alien life did look a lot like us, ie DNA (even if it was different bases) amino acids with some overlap of our own, it would be quite a strong case of common origin. There is simply no real evidence that there should be convergent evolution to the particular set of DNA/RNA/Amino acids we have here.

And it could be far simpler than even the simplest bacteria (which are bloody complicated). For example you could have something that just has plasmid like loops of "DNA" floating around with no structure, blobs of cell just buds off all the time. And by chance alone some of these buds has enough of the different plasmids to rinse and repeat.

But non carbon based, non water solvent life is definitely not nearly as likely as many people think. Too much sci fi, and not enough numbers. We have a very good understanding of chemistry and even an alternative metabolism hasn't even been suggested outside arm waving and doctor who level science.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 8 months ago | (#46524033)

I know this is always a popular theme. Life may not be as we know it. However proper analisis makes it less likely than water based carbon life for a number of reasons.

Its popular for a reason. How do we know what exactly is required for life? Every time we've thought of a "requirement" before, we've looked somewhere on earth that doesn't meet those requirements and found life. Our knowledge of what is needed is limited, and frankly horribly blinded by our own experience. We know the mechanisms that we can see that life on earth uses, but that doesn't mean that's the only mechanism (or even the best possible mechanism). Humans can collectively be quite creative, but we are nothing compared to the universe at large.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 8 months ago | (#46524549)

You can't change the laws of physics or chemistry. We know these laws really well. Its not experience with life around us that has taught us these rules. But the Universe around us.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 8 months ago | (#46524073)

Life not based around carbon and water would have to be be so profoundly unlike our own that it might not be recognisable as life.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 8 months ago | (#46524501)

Anything that self replicates has such a profound influence on the local surroundings that it would be impossible to miss even if your not looking for it.

Re:Showed this on Cosmos, Sunday night. (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 8 months ago | (#46522993)

Not if we add a little oxygen to the methane and lightning. Nothing lives in an exploding fart.

They can find waves on a far away moon but (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46520515)

have no idea where a 777 went. Way to GO!

Charlie don't surf (5, Funny)

hessian (467078) | about 8 months ago | (#46520531)

A mission to Titan is essential now. Not only is it a moral imperative to explore these seas, but there's probably seafront property we can sell to dot-com billionaires.

Re:Charlie don't surf (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46520567)

_Another_ mission to Titan.

Cassini launched Huygens. Huygens landed and took photos as it did. Amazing that something so freaking incredible as this seems to be missed by most science pundits. But then, Huygens was the European bit of the mission. So perhaps it's like coverage of sports the US doesn't play.

Coverage of Huygens was really good in the UK.

Huygens, incidentally, was designed to be able to cope with landing in the ocean.

Europa FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46520661)

At least then we're talking about water. Then again, considering that methane is a natural gas - perhaps we can sell Chevron on Titan?

Re:Charlie don't surf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46520687)

Alright, not the best source of fuel, but hey, there's a SEA OF IT.

Re:Charlie don't surf (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46520877)

If we had the energy and resources to go there for fuel, we wouldn't need to. Another Space Nutter fantasy collapses on itself under the weight of its absurdity.

Re:Charlie don't surf (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#46520979)

There are literally hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons [nasa.gov] on Titan than exist in known earth reserves.

This is a finite resource that we are squandering at a rate that ensures our grandchildren, great or otherwise, will find in short supply. It occurs to me that might create a market beyond our present ken.

Re:Charlie don't surf (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46521223)

Do you have any conception of the staggering amount of resources we'd need to go there and bring back significant quantities of the stuff? Considering there is absolutely nothing on Titan to support an infrastructure, and it would be in such a hostile environment that the Antarctic in winter at night looks like a sauna?

If we COULD do that, we DON'T HAVE an energy or resource problem! Do you understand that? Or do you think space is like in the movies?

Your grandchildren will know how to shoe a horse, not fly a starship to Pluto, do you also understand that?

Re:Charlie don't surf (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 8 months ago | (#46521913)

The problems with mining Titan for gas is not a shortage of methane on earth. Thus your argument is specious.

There's very good reason that mining methane from Titan is prohibitively difficult in the foreseeable future, but there's no good reason to think it's an assured net loss, for all time, for every resource. It would be a trade of some resources for others.

It would definitely have to be a robotic operation, no question. Once you say that, the low temperature isn't such a big deal (we could in principle build something for which the Earth is an incredibly hostile hot environment), especially since with a fuel source (like, say, methane) it's relatively easy to heat a local environment, compared to trying to cool it out a hot planet. Thus the Antarctica comparison is very far from being the biggest problem.

Your grandchildren will know how to shoe a horse, not fly a starship to Pluto, do you also understand that?

I find it really oddly specific that you think there will be such a catastrophe that we'll be back to wanting to ride horses, but not such a catastrophe that shoeing horses remains uncommon. I almost wonder if you're the one who is messed up by the movies.

You seem fixated on the *wrong problems* and I think that undermines your argument. That and your strawman about "Space Nutters" (which sounds like a sci fi porn title).

Re:Charlie don't surf (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46522835)

especially since with a fuel source (like, say, methane) it's relatively easy to heat a local environment

On Titan, oxidizer is fuel, and it is in very short supply. Hypothetical Titanians would look at the Earth atmosphere and dream about tanking our oxygen into their fuel reservoirs. We take oxygen for granted, and call other components of oxidizing reactions: "fuel". Any stronger reactant then "normal" oxygen we call "corrosive" or "violently reacting". Titanians would call those "highly caloric fuel".

Our chemistry is Earth-centric and we classified chemical compounds according to common reactions and concentrations in environment we have here.

Re:Charlie don't surf (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 8 months ago | (#46524149)

we could in principle build something for which the Earth is an incredibly hostile hot environment

Like, anything with superconductors?

Re:Charlie don't surf (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46522355)

No, they will not know how to shoe a horse. We are never going back to that, understand? Perish your pathetic dreams of everyone riding around on bikes and living off the fat of the land, because it's just a fantasy.

Re:Charlie don't surf (2)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 8 months ago | (#46521165)

Nobody's going to go to Titan "for fuel," but an exposed source of hydrocarbons is pure gold for off-Earth development. In our analysis of moon rock and other planetary surfaces so far, hydrogen and carbon have been the most difficult elements to find. When steel mills are built in the Belt, the crews are going to need Titanian hydrocarbons to get the greenhouse crops going.

Re:Charlie don't surf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46521783)

It would be easier to get hydrogen and carbon from the C-type asteroids in the asteroid belt. They contain a significant proportion of organic carbon, as well as water.

Re:Charlie don't surf (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46521875)

"Easier", in the sense of half of infinity is still infinity, sure. Guess what? We have hydrogen and carbon right here on Earth! If we had the energy and resources to go play Space Miner, we wouldn't HAVE an energy and resource problem!

I mean, just read that Space Nutter garbage up there! Oh yes, the steel mills in free fall! Oh Great One, how does molten steel flow and separate out without gravity?? Oh just spin it right? Sure! Easy peasy, we'll just 3D print a spinning fully automatic free-fall space steel mill, right? But somehow, we'll never be able to use that technology right here on Earth!

And what about that awful black hole we keep tossing old cars into? Our steel is disappearing! I thought we're in the age of carbon fiber anyways, so why this dream of steel mills in space... Why not a 19th century wooden pulley-block factory in space while you're at it?

Ooooohh, and "The Belt"!! Put down the Niven, dude, it was just pulpy sci-fi trash for kids to gobble up. It's not real.

Re: Charlie don't surf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46522029)

Dude. Chill.

Re: Charlie don't surf (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 8 months ago | (#46522119)

I'm pretty sure the Space Nutter troll is some sort of ex sci-fi fan who got seriously burned when the childhood fantasies didn't come true in a few decades. Now they're attacking anyone interested in space with the zealotry of a convert and projecting like crazy.

Re: Charlie don't surf (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 8 months ago | (#46522801)

Which doesn't change the fact that he/she has a point. Steel mills in space? Really? Did GP even say that out loud and think about it for 3 seconds? I don't think so.

Re: Charlie don't surf (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 8 months ago | (#46531639)

He doesn't really have a point since the discussion was about mining the asteroid belt. Asteroids have gravity. They're also stable locations to build centrifugal processing equipment if you need higher g-forces and have problems getting some sort of free-fall tethered arrangement to work.

Re:Charlie don't surf (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 8 months ago | (#46521629)

Not only is it a moral imperative to explore these seas, but there's probably seafront property we can sell to dot-com billionaires.

Maybe, but I think skinny dipping is right out.

Why doesn't it explode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46520619)

when it's struck by a meteorite?

Re:Why doesn't it explode (1)

Boronx (228853) | about 8 months ago | (#46520649)

It will, it's just been lucky so far. Don't live on Titan.

Re:Why doesn't it explode (3, Informative)

darkshot117 (1288328) | about 8 months ago | (#46520753)

Because there's no oxygen to ignite the atmosphere.

Re:Why doesn't it explode (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#46521031)

You'd actually only need an oxidizer to support life as we pretend to know it.

Nitrogen is a poor one that might exist there and flourine is a bit too rich for life as we know it, but see, we just don't know absolutely everything yet.

Re: Why doesn't it explode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46520761)

Because there is no oxygen, which is an essential ingredient for combustion.

Re:Why doesn't it explode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46520781)

I've seen no mention of oxydizing agents in the atmosphere.

Re:Why doesn't it explode (1)

avgjoe62 (558860) | about 8 months ago | (#46520821)

Alex, what is "Lack of sufficient free oxygen to react with"?

Re:Why doesn't it explode (2)

scarboni888 (1122993) | about 8 months ago | (#46523077)

I'm not Alex but don't worry Alex - I got this!

A "Lack of sufficient free oxygen to react with"? is the reason Titan doesn't explode. That's what it is.

WMD found on titan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46520663)

It's about time we sent troops to Titan to free the friendly aliens from the other evil alien overlords living there.

Re:WMD found on titan. (1)

scarboni888 (1122993) | about 8 months ago | (#46523085)

Correct!

And then the typical human venture began (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46520665)

Timeshare villa's on Titan, get ya lovely timeshare villa now before they are all snapped up. Top location, beautiful alien scenery, genuine Titan lakeside views and plenty of emergency life-support equipment in case your spacesuit malfunctions. If that doesn't interest you how about near Jupiter? Our scenic timeshare apartments by Europa's geysers are quite the rage. Suits you sir and madam.

Most important question! (2, Insightful)

hedgemage (934558) | about 8 months ago | (#46520875)

CAN YOU SURF THESE WAVES?

Re:Most important question! (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#46523355)

The surface gravity is only 0.14g. It's not dissimilar to the surface of the moon. Surfing in that could be pretty interesting, although the space suit you would be wearing might make it tricky.

Re:Most important question! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46523563)

Surfing Titan while blasting Surfing With An Alien in my space suit...

Different chemistry of life? (4, Interesting)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | about 8 months ago | (#46520937)

I wonder what sort of chemistry any organisms living in those lakes would have. The whole concept of hydrophobicity would be reversed. Polar groups would be "methanephilic" and nonpolar ones would be "methanephobic". They could still have cell walls made from lipids, but they'd be flipped around with the polar part on the inside.

Re:Different chemistry of life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46521091)

I wonder what sort of chemistry any organisms living in those lakes would have. The whole concept of hydrophobicity would be reversed. Polar groups would be "methanephilic" and nonpolar ones would be "methanephobic". They could still have cell walls made from lipids, but they'd be flipped around with the polar part on the inside.

"Hey, Frelboz! Melt me some icerocks and plug in the electrolyzer. We're having a BBQ this weekend and the damn grill's out of oxygen again!"

Re:Different chemistry of life? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 8 months ago | (#46521183)

"It's your job because my daughter is no goddamned help around the house. Right now, she's out protesting those water drilling companies that are using up our precious liquid methane for fracking!"

Re:Different chemistry of life? (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 8 months ago | (#46522819)

I posted above about this. Didn't think of reversed hydrophobicity. Assumed none. But still there are big issues with temperature and well the fact that methane is just not a great solvent.

And well the claim that "it would be hard to recognize as life" is pure BS. Anything self replicating becomes so freaking dominate to the local conditions and chemistry it would be practically impossible to miss even if your not looking for it.

Re:Different chemistry of life? (1)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | about 8 months ago | (#46525597)

I don't think temperature is a problem. You just adjust your energy barriers to be appropriate to the temperature. So proteins would be much less stable than earth ones, but then they'd be much colder, so their stability would come out the same. Just like extremophiles have much more stable proteins than other organisms, so they don't fall apart at high temperature.

A bigger problem is DNA and RNA. Those would instantly precipitate out in methane. So you'd need a different molecule to serve that function, something that's nonpolar.

Agreed about life being easy to spot, at least if you're free to do whatever experiments you want. Look under a microscope, and it'll be obvious that something is there.

Unfortunately... (3, Insightful)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 8 months ago | (#46521137)

We've pretty much hit the point where future missions to explore places like Titan are decades down the road, since people don't seem to think NASA should be properly funded.

Re:Unfortunately... (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 8 months ago | (#46521553)

Words can't describe how much I hate the people who are fine with spending our grandchildren's money on wars rather than science, but how much funding is "proper?" And what's a reasonable time to be able to start a mission given a reasonable funding? A decade doesn't seem that long. Wiki tells me it took Cassini seven years just to get from here to there [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 8 months ago | (#46521579)

Travel time, sure. But the spacecraft originates from plans laid in the early 80's, and it wasn't actually approved until the late 80's. So basically it took 15 to 20 years to get from "here to there."

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

Duncan.Torrigiani (3573065) | about 8 months ago | (#46523603)

In an ideal society NASA would get the funds for all space exploration missions but it looks like once the Cassini probe runs out of fuel, estimated to happen in 2017, NASA will not be funded for the purpose of further exploring the giant planets.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 8 months ago | (#46524105)

It isn't a matter of "proper funding". The current ideology is that large corporations are just plain better at everything that identically-sized groups that happen to be part of the government. Thus increasing funding to a non-military government agency for any reason is heresy.

There probably will eventually be future missions to Titan, but they will be for harvesting all that methane and natural gas so it can be hauled back to Earth and burned up in our atmosphere.

I prefer the old term... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46521321)

...Planetologist.
-Pardot

Fun fact (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 8 months ago | (#46521445)

"Punga mare", in Romanian, means "big bag". At first, I thought it was named by a Romanian dude, but I found out that "Punga" comes from Maori.

Could Titan serve as a "fuel cell" for a station? (1)

swb (14022) | about 8 months ago | (#46521821)

Titan sounds like a tough place to occupy on the ground, but could its methane supply ever be developed to serve as a fuel supply for a space station in Titan's orbit?

I read about it in Wikipedia, so I'm sure this sounds moronic, but it sounds like its really rich in methane and has a weak gravitational pull. Could you create a reusable vehicle that would harvest methane, using it for its own source of fuel, but being able to deliver a surplus to be used to keep a station fueled or even ultimately provide fuel for a return trip to Earth in some other vehicle?

Any kind of space activity is always fuel constrained, and that far out solar wouldn't cut it to power a manned station but having a way to harvest a fairly abundant fuel source might kind of change the equation on manned space travel.

Re:Could Titan serve as a "fuel cell" for a statio (1)

Zaldarr (2469168) | about 8 months ago | (#46522203)

The problem is not the fuel, but rather the oxygen to burn said fuel. Sure, hydrocarbons are in excess, but you still need an oxidising agent, and oxygen is pretty damned valuable since it's both part of life support and fuel.

We are talking about four bright pixels here... (4, Interesting)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about 8 months ago | (#46522077)

Just to be clear for those who didn't read the article, this entire study is based on four brighter than expected pixels.

Four pixels in the images are brighter than one might expect from reflecting sunlight, Barnes reported at the conference. He concluded that they must represent something particularly rough on the surface — a wave or set of waves.

Re:We are talking about four bright pixels here... (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about 8 months ago | (#46523611)

Just to be clear for those who didn't read the article, this entire study is based on four brighter than expected pixels.

Four pixels in the images are brighter than one might expect from reflecting sunlight, Barnes reported at the conference. He concluded that they must represent something particularly rough on the surface — a wave or set of waves.

Correct. And the scientist in question said it may indicate the presence of waves, giving him some wiggle room if a future mission goes there and finds that basically everything is frozen solid.

Screw Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46522157)

Why aren't we sending rovers to Titan?... it's so much more interesting than a barren unchanging rock.

Should we wave back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46523287)

I mean, you don't know WHO is waving!!!!!

Raining methane eh? (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about 8 months ago | (#46523597)

Sounds like a men's college dorm to me....

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