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Radar Evidence for Methane Lakes On Titan

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the getting-our-feet-wet dept.

Space 24

DrMorpheus writes "A series of 25 radar observations, taken when Saturn made close approaches to Earth in 2001 and 2002, have provided by far the best evidence yet of methane lakes. Astronomers have suspected since the Voyager fly-bys of the 1980s that liquid hydrocarbons were present on Titan's surface."

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24 comments

you detected it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7128854)

you smelt it, you delt it...

Re:you detected it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7130613)

i can't tell what is burning my eyes more... the joke or the dealer...

The Nutty Professor? (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7128940)

I think this propenderance of methane in space must have something to do with human titan Sherman Klump in the forthcoming "Nutty Professor III"

Re:The Nutty Professor? (1)

WTFmonkey (652603) | more than 10 years ago | (#7129043)

Oh, god, you're kidding, right? Tell me there won't be a third one. I'll have to gouge out my other eye!

14 minutes and only 2 fart jokes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7128960)

everyone must be pissed about the previous story. :)

I am Cornholio! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7128982)

I am Cornholio. I to to saturn on way to uranus. I need teepee for my bunghole!

Why Titan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7128998)

There's lots of methane in the vicinity of Uranus.

The Sirens of Titan (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7129016)

Apologies to Kurt ("Wear Sunscreen") Vonnegut:

There are sirens on Titan, and they sound like this [fungreetz.com] .

Re:The Sirens of Titan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7130327)

Vonnegut didn't write the "Wear sunscreen" speech.
[urbanlegends.com]
http://www.urbanlegends.com/ulz/sunscreen.html

No sex in the champaign room (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7132441)

I know. nor did Chris Rock write "No sex in the champaign room"

More Info about the ESA Huygens mission (5, Informative)

OneOver137 (674481) | more than 10 years ago | (#7129812)

http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm? fobjectid=31826

But don't get too excited...
"Titan is not a pleasant place for life. It is far too cold for liquid water to exist, and all known forms of life need liquid water. Titan's surface is -180?C. According to one exotic theory, long ago, the impact of a meteorite, for example, might have provided enough heat to liquify water for perhaps a few hundred or thousand years."

Re:More Info about the ESA Huygens mission (1)

trinitrotoluene (713170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7130678)

Something's wrong withthe link. Why is finding out there's liquid CH4 (that's methane right?) on Titan important? Is it just another piece of data about the solar system?

Re:More Info about the ESA Huygens mission (3, Interesting)

Alsee (515537) | more than 10 years ago | (#7132719)

Why is finding out there's liquid CH4 (that's methane right?) on Titan important? Is it just another piece of data about the solar system?

One word: life. Or at least an interesting possibility to look for life. It's like a lottery ticket, no matter how remote the chances are for finding life, it is important and exciting because the possible "payoff" is unimaginably huge. Life on earth arose in the oceans, and requires liquid water to fuction. Methane is an organic molecule, so we are taking about organic oceans or lakes. The moment you agree to look for life that is "different" than earth life it becomes very plausible and interesting to consider the possibility of life based on a different liquid.

The linked article also mentions that they are pretty sure they have evidence of methane rain, just like the earth has water rain. There is also a probe that will parachute down onto Titan in 2005. They had to redesign the probe to handle a possible "splashdown" rather than a normal landing.

-

Re:More Info about the ESA Huygens mission (0)

Omega037 (712939) | more than 10 years ago | (#7131473)

Life does not require liquid water, only life on Earth does. Seeing how all life on Earth also evolved from the same original single cell organism, it is absurd to think that it is the only possible form of life. Life does not need cells, liquid water, or to be carbon based. There could be a methane cloud on Titan using fusion to communicate with another cloud a joke he heard about Uranus right this second.

Re:More Info about the ESA Huygens mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7132380)

You're an idiot, but since you're also a noob, we forgive you.

Re:More Info about the ESA Huygens mission (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 10 years ago | (#7132610)

You're an idiot, but since you're also a noob, we forgive you.

No, you're an idiot, but since you're an Anonymous Coward who didn't actualy dispute anything he said, we'll ignore you.

Though I do have to agree his comment about fusion communication was rather improbable. :)

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Re:More Info about the ESA Huygens mission (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 10 years ago | (#7132740)

all known forms of life need liquid water

I think finding a "known form of life" on Titan would be far more shocking than finding an "unknow form of life" on Titan, LOL.

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Re:More Info about the ESA Huygens mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7133280)

Thats just Bob from accounting. Something about good rent. Hey, if you think your commute on the LIE is bad, the asteroid belt is murder, but it speeds up a bit after that.

Hopeless moderator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7130011)

I posted exactly the same news *hours* before.
It even had more links. CRAP!

Re:Hopeless moderator (1)

dnahelix (598670) | more than 10 years ago | (#7132749)

The same has happened to me, notice the email address of the poster, hmmmmmm.
That's why I don't bother to post articles anymore.
It really makes for a richer slashdot experience, don't you think? ... NOT

No photos (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#7133776)

"The final answer on Titan's methane will come 2005, when the European Space Agency's Huygens spaceprobe will parachute to the surface of Titan. Mindful of the possibility of a liquid landing, ESA have designed the probe to float and resist capsizing if necessary."

Unfortunately, I don't think the Titan probe has any cameras. Thus, don't expect postcards of Titan beaches.

Re:Yes! photos! (2, Informative)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 10 years ago | (#7137724)

The Titan Probe does indeed have cameras [arizona.edu] . It will take images all the way down once it passes the cloud deck and it even has the capability for rudimentary color images [arizona.edu] . Titan's beaches are in fact, just what we may see.

Re:Yes! photos! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#7140706)

The Titan Probe does indeed have cameras.

I stand corrected. It will be an interesting mission. I hope the discovered "dopler" problem does not significantly impact the photo part of the mission. When bandwidth becomes a premium, photos are often the first to be cut on such missions because imaging is a bandwidth hog. Thanks.
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