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Possible Cryovolcano Discovered on Titan

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the cold-showers dept.

Space 116

Rei writes "NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is reporting that the Cassini spacecraft has observed what appears to be a cryovolcano on Saturn's moon Titan. Given the absense of a global methane sea on Titan, the snail-shaped structure with what appears to be a caldera on top could explain how Titan's methane stays replenished. It could further explain the dry drainage channels discovered by the Huygens lander as being formed by heavy methane rainfall after eruptions."

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116 comments

Great article (5, Funny)

hostyle (773991) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778391)

Excellent, just what the Galaxy needs - a farting moon.

Re:Great article (3, Funny)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778395)

So this moon is really made out of cheese . . and it just cut itself?

Re:Great article (0)

Irashtar (836973) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778998)

Don't worry. In space, noone can smell your fart.

Re:Great article (1)

Rii (777315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779708)

Nor can they hear it.

Re:Great article (3, Funny)

JThundley (631154) | more than 9 years ago | (#12780840)

. . and it just cut itself?

Oh great, just what we need, a depressed angsty moon.

Re:Great article (1, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778457)

That's no moon.

Re:Great article (0, Redundant)

metricmusic (766303) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778489)

yes, it goes along great with Uranus.

*dodges tomato*

Ob Futurama (0, Offtopic)

bsd4me (759597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778946)

I'm sorry, Fry, but astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all.

Re:Ob Futurama (0, Offtopic)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779053)

"What's it called now?" "Urectum."

Re:Great article (0, Redundant)

mrbooze (49713) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781251)

. . . that's no moon.

Re:Great article (1)

KinkifyTheNation (823618) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781642)

That's no space station...

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778392)

fp

Caldera? (5, Funny)

beacher (82033) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778397)

" appears to be a caldera on top could explain how Titan's methane stays replenished" I thought it was after the Canopy group acquired Caldera that the hot air came forth.... hrm. It would explain the drainage too...

Re:Caldera? (3, Funny)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778723)

Obligiigatory:

Say it isn't SCO!

Check for bad sci-fi (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778398)

Maybe it's a $cientology Dianetics franchise? They always use (Xenu) volcanoes in their advertising.

Titan Climatology (5, Interesting)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778403)

Unlike terrestrial volcanic mounds, which are formed by the upwelling of lava, the hypothesis is that this feature is probably formed by plumes of frozen methane, forced from underground, which then slowly evaporate into methane gas. This would explain the abundance of methane in the Titan atmosphere. Titan is the only moon in the solar system to have a substantial atmosphere, a thick mix of nitrogen and methane. It is suspected to be undergoing chemical reactions similar to those that unfolded on Earth billions of years ago. That process eventually provided the conditions for life on our planet. Scientists have long pondered the source of Titan's methane, given that this chemical should have been degraded by the weak light from the Sun within a hundred million years or so.

Re:Titan Climatology (3, Funny)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778417)

You mean it's not just leaking out from all the créme bruleé?

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778428)

Those scientists will get their just desserts for messing around with... er... science!

Actually, they decided the creme brulee hypothesis was wrong - the first thing the lander hit was a rock, which it then slid off, which gave a similar reading to the impactometer as creme brulee.

Re:Titan Climatology (4, Informative)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778468)

Actually, they decided the creme brulee hypothesis was wrong - the first thing the lander hit was a rock, which it then slid off, which gave a similar reading to the impactometer as creme brulee.

... And before anyone asks, yes, they did indeed test the sensor against real crème brûlée [bbc.co.uk] !

Re:Titan Climatology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778443)

It's "crême brulée," jackass.

Re:Titan Climatology (2, Insightful)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778476)

It's "crême brulée," jackass.

Actually, it's 'crème brûlée', ass-jack. ;-)

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778491)

Actually, it's

1/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
powdered sugar for the crusts

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779218)

Agh! If you're going to quote a recipe here, at least use SI units [khanakhazana.com] .

Re:Titan Climatology (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12779076)

All of us in the English-speaking world owe a debt of gratitude to the medieval Englishmen who had the foresight to establish an alphabet free of all those silly little tickmarks.

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

mattspammail (828219) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779603)

Exactly. You're the kind of forward thinker my organization needs. Please send me your resume. Resumé.

Aw hell, just send me your CV, please.

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 9 years ago | (#12780400)

And unicode can fuck right off too.

Re:Titan Climatology (2, Interesting)

RobotWisdom (25776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778427)

This makes no sense to me-- if it's frozen then it's solid, but a volcano has to be liquid. If I imagine a slushy liquid welling up and bursting thru a solid crust, is it convection due to density differences? And what's the heat source underground? Radioactivity? Tides???

Re:Titan Climatology (5, Informative)

youngerpants (255314) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778455)

Not necessarily, pyroclastic flows on Earth are flows of solid matter (rocks) that can occur during periods of volcanic activity.


Although they are made out of "solid" matter the flows seem almost liquid in nature. Don't think of the methane as one huge frozen lump, but rather many solid lumps in motion.

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778669)

Its likely due to a pressure build up. They don't yet know what the energy source is though inferring from TFA they seem to think that it is tidal forces.

So intense tidal forces agitate a (mostly) solid methane well, which imparts heat, which causes it to melt, which increases the pressure, which causes an eruption.

Either that or it just had too many beans

Re:Titan Climatology (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778792)

While a lot of things are possible (at least until we have more data), most of these gas giant moons seem to derive whatever internal heat they have from tidal deformation. It's the same thing that happens when you take a wire and bend it back and forth really fast.

I haven't seen the numbers crunched that would tell how much energy Titan could derive from it's orbital eccentricity, but it wouldn't take much to drive methane ice at cryogenic temperatures.

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

paulatz (744216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778738)

Did you ever drank a granita [mondogelato.com] ?

Re:Titan Climatology (2, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778779)

The force of gravity pulling the moon together causes pressure at the core (See Pascal's law [answers.com] ) This pressure (thousands if not millions times Earth's atmospheric pressure), gets converted into heat, which then causes convection and volcanoes. Some heat is also generated by the moon rotating within Saturn's gravitational field.

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

RobotWisdom (25776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779404)

Nope, if pressure caused heat, you could do perpetual motion. A molecule gains KE as it falls towards another mass, but that just dissipates.

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

Lord Pillage (815466) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779593)

This is correct I believe. KE for these purposes is heat. Take, for example, a container full of air. Each molecule has it's own kinetic energy. We can measure the average of the molecules' energy by sticking a thermometer into the container and seeing what it says as the molecules collide with it.

Through the laws of entropy the energy will be dispearsed relatively evenly throughout the container. Each collision on the thermometer emparts some of its kinetic energy.

If you take that same container and reduce it to, say, 1/10 of the size without reducing the number of particles in the container then the number of collisions increases, increasing the temperature reading. The energy in the container has become more "dense". However, the amount of energy in the container is exactly the same.

No heat was created.

The energy on Titan would either have to come from the sun, or from Saturn. I'm not sure if the orbit would somehow give some energy to Titan. I don't think it would, but I may be wrong.

Before you post, make sure you know the law of conservation of energy.

IANAP(hysicist)

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 9 years ago | (#12780474)

No heat was created.
No energy was created. Some other form of energy was converted into heat.
Before you post, make sure you know the law of conservation of energy.
Same to you.

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781338)

Pressure has units of N/m^2

Energy has units of J=Nm

IIRC heat typically has units of power (W=Nm/s) as in heat flux (W/m^2)

While not entirely clear I think the GP post is accurate

not sure what your point was but neither heat nor energy was created. However, the temperature did increase.

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779923)

It's not pressure that causes heat. Rather, an increase of pressure causes an increase of temperature. In this case, the increase in pressure is the gradual gravitational coalescing of Titan from whatever material it is composed of.

Having said that, I suspect that this is not the mechanism that heats Titan. I have no expertise in solar system physics, but I would guess that the tidal forces from Saturn and radioactive decay in Titan's core each must contribute more to Titan's heat than gravitational settling.

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781381)

I don't think increase in pressure necessarily leads to a increase in temperature. Remember liquid methane is not an ideal gas.

I could be wrong (about the first part anyway.) Feel free to correct me if that's the case.

Re:Titan Climatology (1)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12780153)

Heat is simply the infra-red range of the electromagnetic spectrum. As the atoms under pressure collide, individual electrons collide, and give out the occasional photon. Eventually, the energy in the system would be lost at the surface through black body radiation and evaporation (unless it is a closed system).

Most volcanoes on Earth are powered by gas pressure contained by rock. Wouldn't the same thing happen on Titan with ice rather than rock?

Cryoclastic eruptions? (4, Informative)

amightywind (691887) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778850)

Titan is the only moon in the solar system to have a substantial atmosphere

Triton, Neptune's large moon also has a substantial Nitrogen atmosphere, enough to entrain geyser plumes [nasa.gov] that move downwind. Ganymede has a thin atmosphere as well.

the hypothesis is that this feature is probably formed by plumes of frozen methane, forced from underground, which then slowly evaporate into methane gas.

It will be interesting to see what style of volcanism dominates on Titan - "cryoclastic" eruptions of methane gas and ammonia-hydrate ice crystals, or gooey water/hydrocarbon flows. The light colored lobate features surrounding the caldera in the TIMS image suggests the later. The apparent ring faults surrounding the caldera also suggest that this is a shield profile volcano built by effusive eruptions. It will be interesting to measure its profile with Cassini's radar to find out for sure.

Let me be the first to say... (1)

asoap (740625) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779574)

Huh?

Re:Cryoclastic eruptions? (2, Interesting)

EccentricAnomaly (451326) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779666)

Triton, Neptune's large moon also has a substantial Nitrogen atmosphere, enough to entrain geyser plumes that move downwind. Ganymede has a thin atmosphere as well.

Titan's atmosphere is much, much thicker than the atmosphere on Triton, Ganymede, or Enceladus. These other moons have atmospheres but they are much thinner than even Mars' atmosphere. Hence the 'substantial' qualifier about Titan's atmosphere (which is thicker than Earth's).

Re:Cryoclastic eruptions? (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779885)

These other moons have atmospheres but they are much thinner than even Mars' atmosphere. Hence the 'substantial' qualifier about Titan's atmosphere (which is thicker than Earth's).

Nonetheless, any moon (Triton) where particles can move downwind qualifies as a substantial atmosphere in my book.

Re:Cryoclastic eruptions? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781034)

So, then, you count our moon as having an atmosphere. The solar wind blows sparse gas and statically-charged dust across it's surface (creating what look almost like faint clouds or aurora at times).

Re:Cryoclastic eruptions? (1)

EccentricAnomaly (451326) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781686)

Nonetheless, any moon (Triton) where particles can move downwind qualifies as a substantial atmosphere in my book.

What about Iapetus? It has what looks like wind blown streaks, but it doesn't appear to have an atmosphere.

Re:Cryoclastic eruptions? (2, Informative)

amightywind (691887) | more than 9 years ago | (#12782263)

What about Iapetus? It has what looks like wind blown streaks, but it doesn't appear to have an atmosphere.

Iapetus, Dione, Rhea all have bright wispy terrains that may have an impact or tectonic origin. There is no evidence at all that these features were disbursed by an atmosphere. But Triton's dark geyser plumes have been observed actively rising and disbursing downwind at altitude.

Why this volcanoe helps the case for life (1)

EccentricAnomaly (451326) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781876)

Titan has an ammonia-water sea under its crust... a crust that is covered by heaping mounds of complex hydrocarbons. Around these volcanoes, this liquid water is mixing with a lot of complex organic molecules... Who knows what sort of crazy stuff will happen when you mix water and complex organic molecules :)

These ice volcanoes would be very interesting places to visit. :)

Caldera (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778406)

Ahhhh, so that's where OpenLinux is being used

Coldest! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778413)

Vulcano! Ever!

Guess what... (5, Informative)

Trollstoi (888703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778447)

... methane can be found at Jupiter and Saturn, Oberon, Miranda and Titania... Neptune, Titan...
astronomy dominee [wikipedia.org]

Re:Guess what... (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778532)

Stars can frighten!

Re:Guess what... (1)

dbucowboy (891058) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778973)

Don't forget Uranus... there's plenty of methane there.

Re:Guess what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12779312)

/me *farts*. now, methane can be found on Earth, too!

Your forgot Uranus! (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 9 years ago | (#12780837)

(Obligatory Uranus Joke)

What will they think they see next? (1)

syntap (242090) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778448)

A face maybe? They can call the volcano region "cryodonia"!

Raining methane? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778465)

I bet schools close a lot there.

"The forecast today is for periods of clear nitrogen, followed by an earthquake, the raining methane for the rest of the afternoon. Film at eleven."

snowcone anyone! (1)

zenst (558964) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778467)

Its snowcone factory :D

Correction... (2, Funny)

thepeete (189121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778469)

After re-analysis of the data, it appears that Nasa was looking at Uranus.

Definition of Cryovolcano (5, Informative)

httpamphibio.us (579491) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778483)

"Cryovolcanoes are pseudo-volcanoes believed to be present on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. Unlike volcanoes on Earth which spew hot lava, cryvolcanoes bring super-cool "lava" to the surface of their planets. They are volcanic-like vents that spew forth ice, water or vapor-phase volatiles, with some gas driven solid fragments instead of lava. It is suggetsed that they could be present on Titan, one of Saturn's moons. However it has only been seen on Triton, the biggest of Neptune's moons. Also it is said that they might be active in Europa and Enceladus.

This term was coined by NASA in late 2004, when the Cassini space probe observed cryvolcanoes and cryogenic lakes for the first time."


definition quoted from explore-dictionary.com [explore-dictionary.com]

Re:Definition of Cryovolcano (1)

Slamtilt (17405) | more than 9 years ago | (#12780441)

This term was coined by NASA in late 2004, when the Cassini space probe observed cryvolcanoes and cryogenic lakes for the first time."

They may have coined the term, but there's a Dr. Who story where the Doctor uses the "lava" from something very similar to freeze a huge Dalek force. Planet of the Daleks, I think it was, back in about '73. Definitely a Pertwee one, even if I've got the name wrong.

Paris Hilton says (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778485)

A cryovolcano. That's hot.

New Paris cryo video yet? (1)

ebvwfbw (864834) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779784)

Did she produce a new video about this yet? Oh wait, she is doing the Paris^2 video right now.

Slashdot=Day old news.dot (-1, Offtopic)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778502)

This Volcano story was on Fark yesterday, or even two days ago. I have noticed a trend over the past two years of sluggish posting of cool stories on /. I don't know what the problem is, and I know for certain this story was submitted to /. immediately after it became news, so why the delay?

Re:Slashdot=Day old news.dot (1)

Runagate Rampant (602123) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778572)

so why the delay?

Something to do with the process [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Slashdot=Day old news.dot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778765)

"I have noticed a trend over the past two years of sluggish posting of cool stories on /. "

It's a reflection of /.'s community. Read this place at -1 some time and you get to see the majority of this communities mentality. Only a small minority here on /. are actually worth listening too and only a few make up-to-date articles. Even then I'd rather go to MeFi or Fark because there is much more signal than noise there.

New material for George Lucas... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778519)

A lightsabre battle, while ice-skating on a frozen planet.

Re:New material for George Lucas... (1)

Craig_P92669 (875776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12780030)

Didn't that sort of happen already with Luke and the (goddamn I hate trying to spell this) Adominable Snowman in Ep. 3?

That brings new meaning (5, Funny)

lheal (86013) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778523)

to the phrase "titanic methane eruption".

The solar system is fouled up, isn't it? (4, Funny)

panurge (573432) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778556)

I'm sure Exxon would confirm we need the natural gas before we run out of stuff to help keep our planet warm and fend off those pesky ice ages, during which even the biggest SUV would find it hard to get out of the drive, which would have major adverse effects on junior soccer leagues.

Meanwhile, the idiots on these remote asteroids have volcanos and seas full of the stuff and are doing absolutely nothing to exploit it.

Rummy really needs to get out there with some ex-military contractors and get started on the pipeline. Looks like there's not too much risk of anyone firing RPGs at the construction force, either.

Re:The solar system is fouled up, isn't it? (0, Flamebait)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778653)

What a hoot! It's so funny that every time there's an article that mentions hydrocarbons of any kind, we can use it to show how the administration is personally stealing oil and putting in big secret tanks that they'll only share with their rich children!

Honestly, I thought that the abbreviation "M$" was the funniest thing I'd ever seen, but this is much, much better.

Re:The solar system is fouled up, isn't it? (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779162)

You're wrong about the big secret tanks, the oil the administrations companies now have control of is sold to make money and used to affect oil prices in general ensuring all oil companies make as much money as they can.

Re:The solar system is fouled up, isn't it? (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781389)

Flamebait? Heh! Responding to brilliant snippets like:

Meanwhile, the idiots on these remote asteroids have volcanos and seas full of the stuff and are doing absolutely nothing to exploit it.

Rummy really needs to get out there with some ex-military contractors and get started on the pipeline. Looks like there's not too much risk of anyone firing RPGs at the construction force, either


which even picked up a nice little Troll mod, and I'm the one writing flamebait? Well, at least I'm seeing a 100% flawless pattern of Flamebait Mods For Me = I'm Hitting Too Close To Home for the audience involved. How predictable. Oh well, despite the somewhat cowardly approach to expressing through anonymous mods, at least it's obvious where the ideology here leans, and one just has to put up with the shrill socialists and their (ironically) poor social skills. That, or their complete inability to detect sarcasm - I think there's a medical term for that.

Re:The solar system is fouled up, isn't it? (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778686)

maybe the pipeline can double as a space elevator?

Re:The solar system is fouled up, isn't it? (1)

Craig_P92669 (875776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12780167)

By God....I believe you've stumbled upon the PERFECT sales pitch for NASA to convince GW to fund the space elevator.

What a nerd. (3, Funny)

IsleOfView (23825) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778611)

I originally read that headline as "Possible Cryptovolcano Discovered on Titan", and found myself oddly excited -- even if I have no idea what a Cryptovolcano might be.

Me too - I need to get out more (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778742)

Exactly what I thought too. Except I pictured a volcano with numbers flying out the top.

Re:What a nerd. (1)

CHESTER COPPERPOT (864371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778805)

Steganographyvolcanos=Mountains

Re:What a nerd. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778866)

Cryptovolcano

A volcano-like feature on a planet or moon, that may or may not be an actual volcano. Examples have been found, for example, on the surface of Ganymede.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=cryptovolcano &btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

Re:What a nerd. (1)

PapaBoojum (232247) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781211)

I have no idea what a Cryptovolcano might be.

You jump in and the molten lump they pull out is you... just encrypted.

Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a Decrypovolcano.

A Cryovolcano? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778667)

Doesn't it seem like sometimes science is just making shit up?

Wonder Twin powers activate! (3, Funny)

Attila (23211) | more than 9 years ago | (#12778836)

Shape of... an ice volcano!

caldera (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12778920)

Given the absense of a global methane sea on Titan, the snail-shaped structure with what appears to be a caldera on top could explain how Titan's methane stays replenished.

Having not known that 'caldera' was anything other than sco's former name, I of course looked it up in wikipedia:

A caldera is a volcanic feature formed by the collapse of a volcano into itself.

It seems like sco should have stayed with this name, it's much more apropos.

What does "absense" mean. Seriously !+ (1)

RomanD (844958) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779502)

This word is used in the article but if you look it up in online dictionaries there are no results. This is not some exestantion joke. I am serious. There is a word "absence" but not "absense"

Re:What does "absense" mean. Seriously !+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12779801)

What does "exestantion" mean? Seriously.

Re:What does "absense" mean. Seriously !+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12781044)

US English often replaces words in -ence with -ense. Compared to choices such as "w00t" I'd say the article is doing just fine.

Do you really have nothing better to do than present off-topic, faulty arguments regarding linguistic minutia? Seriously. (Yes, folks, that's a sentence fragment. Call out the firing squad.)

Re:What does "absense" mean. Seriously !+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12781711)

absense, noun -- The intuitive knowledge of stomach muscles.

NOT the most interesting of Saturn's moons (3, Interesting)

filthy-raj (581774) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779631)

I don't know why this hasn't received more coverage: Iapetus [enterprisemission.com]

Maybe you've all seen this already, so I don't know if anyone cares. Basically, Iapetus is not spherical! It is an enormous Buckmister-Fuller skeletal structure! It has also been observed from earth (with radio telescopes) to have a dull, uniform radar signature despite its obvious surface features - but consistent with its unusual, non-spherical geometry. ie: it's stealthy!

There is a 60 000 foot high 'wall' around its equator - perfectly around its equator. This is an impossibly coincidental geological feature. But again, it is empirically consistent with a gradual surface erosion which will reveal an underlying bucky-fuller skeleton.

What could very possibly be an alien artefact has been hushed up. NASA continually draws more attention to Titan, but it's the outermost Iapetus that is far more intriguing. If it wasn't so, how come NASA has scheduled an originally unplanned second flyby?! No, I am not wearing a tin-foil hat!

Don't be fooled by the "Titan smokescreen" (my term for it). Iapetus ('eye-app-e-tis') is the truly significant Cassini investigation.

Enjoy,

Raj

Re:NOT the most interesting of Saturn's moons (1)

filthy-raj (581774) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779937)

Just to update here:

i) Iapetus is the second outermost moon of Saturn. But with its incredibly distinct angle of orbit, one might be forgiven for thinking such.

ii) This thing is not cratered as it would appear. Every single 'crater' is in fact hexagonal! Which if you think it, supports a Buckminster-Fuller 'spheroid' (for lack of a better term) hypothesis. Also, each of these hexagonal surface features are equally sized to other adjacent hexagons with the same altitude.

I think it is intellegent design. Such an enormous construction effort is possible at that fraction of earth's gravity - even with today's technology. Make up your own minds though. Yes, it looks a helluva lot like the Death Star! My personal conjecture is if, and only if, it's alien: that it is an enormous tomb full of dead bodies from an enormous planetary (or interplanetary) plague that needed quarantine of the dead.

Read it. Get everyone you know to read it.

Raj

Re:NOT the most interesting of Saturn's moons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12780018)

"I think it is intellegent design."

Well, obviously YOU weren't on the design committee.

Re:NOT the most interesting of Saturn's moons (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12781546)

Looks to me like standard low gravity crystallization, with a pressure ridge at the former equator where the freezing crust met, then was deformed upward as the underlying material cooled and compressed.

It's too cratered for any surface features to be remarkable at this point. We'll just have to wait for better pictures.

Re:NOT the most interesting of Saturn's moons (4, Insightful)

tylernt (581794) | more than 9 years ago | (#12779950)

"I don't know why this hasn't received more coverage"

Maybe because that link is five huge pages spouting a bunch of conspiracy-theory pseudo-science... finally coming to the conclusion that the moon is, in fact, a disguised "Death Star"?

Yeah, I don't know why it hasn't received more coverage... in The National Enquirer [nationalenquirer.com] !

Re:NOT the most interesting of Saturn's moons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12780028)

Did you even read it asshat??

It does make considerable scientific analysis and exploration of hypothesis whilst your 'rebuttal' certainly fails to do so. Why the fuck does this cock-jockey get the mod points for an unrelated link and a completely uninformed rebuttal??

Without any scientific suggestion at all...

Re:NOT the most interesting of Saturn's moons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12780181)

"Did you even read it"

Yes, and it's pure, unadulterated crap. If you beleive that crap, I have some swampland in Florida to sell you.

Chump.

What a bozo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12781369)

I like the part where he claims meaning in the fact that the 15-degree tilt of the orbit, multiplied by the fact that the moon's orbit is 60x the planet's radius equals the moon's 900-mile diameter!

Never mind the fact that degrees and miles are totally arbitrary human-oriented measures.

Measure it in kilometers and radians and see how amazing it isn't!

Re:NOT the most interesting of Saturn's moons (1)

MisterBates (880051) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781868)

Hey, "filthy-raj" is your turban dirty?

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12779818)

...welcome our new cryovolcano overlords.

Gee there must be... (1, Funny)

DaedalusLogic (449896) | more than 9 years ago | (#12781033)

A whole lot of rotting dinosaurs and plant matter underneath Titan to produce all those hydrocarbons...

Or

That's not where all our oil and gas comes from on this planet either. Besides that, it would be one weird damn dinosaur that would crawl into a giant rock to die, requiring explosives to extract its liquid remains.

Possible Cryptovolcano Discovered on Titan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12781272)

"Possible Cryovolcano Discovered on Titan" /. is really messing with my mind.
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