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Saturn's Moons Harboring Water?

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the where-else-is-aquaman-hiding dept.

Space 161

eldavojohn writes "New bizarre images of Saturn's moons are exciting scientists as there may be some indication of water, possibly at very low depths in the frigid environment they possess. From the article, 'Titan's north pole is currently gripped by winter. And quite a winter it is, with temperatures dropping to -180C and a rain of methane and ethane drizzling down, filling the moon's lakes and seas. These liquids also carve meandering rivers and channels on the moon's surface. Finally, last week NASA and Esa revealed images from Cassini which confirmed that jets of fine, icy particles are spraying from Saturn's moon Enceladus and originate from a hot 'tiger stripe' fracture that straddles the moon's south polar region. The discovery raises the prospect of liquid water existing on Enceladus, and possibly life.' You can find the images here."

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161 comments

Filling the lakes and seas? (3, Interesting)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#20981871)

"a rain of methane and ethane drizzling down, filling the moon's lakes and seas."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Titan's lakes and seas are already methane or ethane. Maybe they mean "filling the moon's valleys"?

Re:Filling the lakes and seas? (2, Informative)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982171)

It is the same as how here on our much more boring earth, rain fills our lakes. If a pond or lake doesn't get any rain it will eventually evaporate away, it has to be refilled. I don't think it was meant in the sense of "its filling the lake with something other than what is already there" so much as "this is how these lakes were formed and are maintained".

I remember as a child reading about this stuff and being fascinated. It has been a long time, but the descriptions I read stuck with me. I can't say how accurate they are, but to think about the very large slow moving waves of non water moving on these moons is amazing. The gravity and so on makes the waves move so much differently than what a wave lookes like here in the ocean. Even if we can't ever set foot on some of those places, I really hope we start getting good clear color pictures of some of these places. These kinds of pictures would really spark new interest in our little corner of space. Most of what we have are just black and white stuff, and the color ones aren't the real colors, but spectrograph type things.

Re:Filling the lakes and seas? (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982199)

The rain ends up in the lakes and seas hence filling them, just like the water version does on earth.

Re:Filling the lakes and seas? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983335)

what a twat you are.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

tesmar (1033054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20981879)

Got it!

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20981951)

Misfire.

Correction - Second Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20982307)

Dear Sir,

That was really the SECOND POST. You are a douchebag. You have FAILED!



"Curses! Foiled again..."

Re:First Post (0, Offtopic)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983457)

You've got your own special tag!

Saturnians (0, Offtopic)

apdyck (1010443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20981883)

And all this time we've been worried about an invasion by the Martians...when we should have really been worried about the invasion from the Saturnians!

Re:Saturnians (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20981909)

Nonono, the Enceladusans!

Re:Saturnians (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20981975)

I think it would be an attack by the Titans...

Re:Saturnians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20982115)

The Martians from Pluto living on Venus are the ones you gotta worry about.

Re:Saturnians (2, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982249)

See, if Venus had done a better job controlling their illegal immigration issues, we wouldn't be having this problem.

Re:Saturnians (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982629)

Why do you want to Balkanize the Saturnians when they've so recently united?

Re:Saturnians (2, Funny)

Tripkipke (840128) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982037)

They invited us over for a swim and a BBQ, you need to bring your own swimsuit though

Re:Saturnians (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982213)

Dude, a sea of methane? You can't bbq there, the moon would explode!

Re:Saturnians (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20982443)

C'mon, their air has no oxygen. In fact, bottle of oxygen would be there what bottle of propane is here. It could make a bang, but wouldn't blow everything. With proper nozzle on it, you can light a match and cook just fine. However... you can't put the fire out with a splash from a lake! Their "water" "aids" "oxidation" of "fuel" (oxygen), unlike ours. Whooh, after writing all that with all that quotation marks, finally I see how Earth-biased our chemistry is. If we were from some other surroundings, we would probably had made different grouping of chemical compounds. giving more attention to those which are ubiquitous over those which are "exotic", "rare" and "unlikely". We have so much oxygen on our planet, there are probably some aliens somewhere out there who think our planet is totally poisonous and corrosive hell, like if we were to learn about world mostly covered in hydrochloric acid, with atmosphere abundant in gaseous chlorine.

Re:Saturnians (-1, Redundant)

Cryophallion (1129715) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982053)

I for one welcome our new Saturnian overlords.

Sorry, it had to be said.

Re:Saturnians (3, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982243)

I for one welcome our new Saturnian overlords.
Now that's just sad.

If they were Jovian overlords, then we could celebrate.

Re:Saturnians (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983629)

You know, in the original 2001: A Space Oddessy, the monolith was at Jupiter. Sure, it was retconned in the movie (harder to film Saturnian rings) and in 2010 (where the move was instrumental to the plot*) and 2061 and 3001 (a terrible book, do not read). But it was Saturn to begin with.

*Actually, you could ignite Saturn into a star too; it'd just be harder, and wouldn't last as long.

Saturn's moons (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20981889)

don't have water.
That's just the jizz dripping out of yo mama.

Lets invade! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20981927)

That's all I need to hear. Conclusive proof that a satellite state of Saturn (that's in the Middle East, right?) is harboring the deadly Western Attack Terrorist Enclave of Ramadan (aka "Water"). We must attack NOW while this news is fresh and before they have time to disappear into Tora Bora caves or whereever those guys go

Re:Lets invade!.. Saturn is just so cool! (1)

asliarun (636603) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982075)

I know this is wildly offtopic, but Saturn is just simply soo cool! If you want to get ANYBODY hooked onto astronomy, just show them a picture of Saturn. I shudder to think of the day we will strip-mine Saturn (or equivalent heinousness), and will defile the planet with our greed. At least, we can hope.

Re:Lets invade!.. Saturn is just so cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983057)

How the hell do you strip-mine a gaseous planet?

Re:Lets invade!.. Saturn is just so cool! (2, Interesting)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983083)

I know this is wildly offtopic, but Saturn is just simply soo cool! If you want to get ANYBODY hooked onto astronomy, just show them a picture of Saturn. I shudder to think of the day we will strip-mine Saturn (or equivalent heinousness), and will defile the planet with our greed. At least, we can hope.

You do realize Saturn id a gas giant? You can't strip mine gas. But if we ever develope any technology to siphon materials from Saturn I don't understand your aversion to it. The reason we find strip mining on earth so distasteful is due to it's disruption of the local ecology and to a lesser importance it damages the esthetic's of the area. However if there is no ecology then an argument about esthetic's alone seems rather empty.

Re:Lets invade!.. Saturn is just so cool! (1)

feronti (413011) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983287)

Personally, I find aesthetics to be a perfectly valid reason to preserve the pristine nature of something, be it a natural area here on Earth or somewhere out in the stars. Whole theories of philosophy have been predicated solely on aesthetics. Simply because you're an uneducated boor who can't appreciate beauty for its own sake, doesn't mean that the rest of us should suffer to live in your cold, sterile world.

That said, I don't necessarily think we could ever damage Saturn to the point of destroying its beauty... it's huge! And if we do somehow develop the ability to damage it, I would hope that there would be more people like me who want to preserve it than people like you who are willing to destroy it for some temporary advantage.

Re:Lets invade!.. Saturn is just so cool! (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985205)

Simply because you're an uneducated boor who can't appreciate beauty for its own sake

Thank you for highlighting how empty your argument is.

Re:Lets invade!.. Saturn is just so cool! (1)

zentinal (602572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983765)

It's science fiction, I know, but...

Take a gander at Charles Stross' Accelerando [accelerando.org] or Ken MacLeod's The Cassini Divison [fantasticfiction.co.uk] for ideas around "strip mining" the gas giants.

Earth First! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983909)

We'll strip-mine the other planets later!

8th (-1, Offtopic)

rafael_es_son (669255) | more than 6 years ago | (#20981957)

post

Kinda useless having it there... (4, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20981979)

Between the gravity well of each repsective Moon (and the big Saturnian one as well) and the hard radiation coming off of Saturn, you'll likely spend as much energy getting it out as it could provide.

Now if they could score a lot of water off of asteroids and other ultra-low-gravity objects, we'd be golden, esp. the theories floating about concerning "dead comets", which IIRC are almost all water ice.

That's where IMHO we need to be throwing exploration money; to get the low-hanging fruit first.

/P

Re:Kinda useless having it there... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20982163)

Ummm, there's no shortage of H2O on this planet.

It's a lot more cost effective, and a hell of a lot easier, to treat what's already here. Obtaining water in meaningful quantities from asteroids/comets is nearly as infeasible as obtaining it from Saturn.

If you want "low-hanging fruit", you might want to consider Earth first.

Re:Kinda useless having it there... (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982435)

I think their interest in water stems from the fact that it could sustain life and it's required for life as we know it. Not because we have shortage of water on Earth.

Re:Kinda useless having it there... (1)

zentinal (602572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983491)

Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but, I believe the idea is to not have to lift H2O out of a deep gravity well, to provide water for humans off planet.

Re:Kinda useless having it there... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985009)

We don't need water HERE, we need it everywhere else. That includes as fuel for spaceships, as drinking water for spaceships, as drinking water for any space stations/habitats and so on.

If it's in some place we have much better odds of setting up a colony there. However if it's harder to get it out of some place then it's of only marginal use save for some scientific colony.

Re:Kinda useless having it there... (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985401)

Ummm, there's no shortage of H2O on this planet.

True indeed... but at around $10,000/kilo just to get it into orbit, I wouldn't exactly call it "cost effective". If it weren't for that constant 1g pull keeping it all down here and the expense of getting it up there, we could just take as much as we wanted with us. Problem is, if we're going to get folks into space permanently, 'living off the land' is much cheaper and far more feasible than simply dragging along every last thing we could use.

Obtaining water in meaningful quantities from asteroids/comets is nearly as infeasible as obtaining it from Saturn.

Not necessarily; I mentioned dead comets [iasf-roma.inaf.it] for a reason. While the reference lists them as being mostly rocky (as most of their more volatile contents would have out-gassed), I suspect that they contain more than enough water to make them worthwhile as mining targets. Active comets contain a whole lot more, and can probably be safely mined by automated robotic equipment once the comet gets far enough out from the Sun to dampen the out-gassing. Some asteroids could easily be comets that simply have stable orbits, far enough out from the Sun* to not erupt and evaporate, with a nice heavy coating of dust to keep things insulated.

*Note: not "Kuiper Belt" distance (though at that distance they would be very plentiful)... more like "Mars" distance, where quite a few can likely be found.

Thing is, we really don't know because we really haven't looked all that deeply into them yet.

Either way, I suspect that water will be the new "gold" if/when we get up there...

/P

Useless??? (2, Interesting)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983045)

Am I the only one who read the slashdot intro and thought, "I soooo want to go there!"?

Where there's water, there's life. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20982005)

Where there's life, there's niggers.

Where there's niggers, there's crime.

liquid water (4, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982011)

The fact that some of Satrun's moons have water is nothing new, Tethys for example has a density very near 1 g/cm^3 indicating that it is likely mostly made of water ice. The real interesting thing here is that tidal heating could create pools of warmed liquid water neneat the surface.

It makes sense (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982035)

With Saturn being like a somewhat failed star that one of its moons would resemble a sister planet to earth with water and everything. Now life is another matter, at least in a form that we know...

Re:It makes sense (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982107)

Er, are you joking? I'll assume you aren't...

How is Saturn like a failed star? It has a solid core that makes up ~20% of it it's mass, that's no star. Even if it were somehow a failed star, that in no way implies that it'd have liquid water on any moons. The issue has nothing to do with formation, it's all about composition and heat: the moons of Saturn are made of ices (especially water) in a way that the terrestrial planets aren't *and* are too far from the Sun to support liquid water without some less conventional energy source. And since they're small, they're mostly cold and dead. We're *still* sort of shocked by Enceladus.

Re:It makes sense (3, Interesting)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982367)

Neither Saturn nor Jupiter are failed stars. Let Phil explain you this a bit better than I could [badastronomy.com]

Re:It makes sense (5, Informative)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983507)

That explanation is, somewhat lacking. It explains very well why Jupiter is not a brown dwarf. "Failed star" isn't quite so specific.

Basically, Jupiter is one extremely massive body. It's far more massive (more than twice as much) than all the other planets (even all the other gas giants, including similarly sized Saturn) combined. It's also made of MOSTLY hydrogen (prime element fueling a star), and interestingly enough, the center of mass between the Sun and Jupiter is actually OUTSIDE of the surface of the Sun. Not much outside of it admittedly, but no other planet in our system comes anywhere near it, and it's much like the Pluto/Charon system though not as exaggerated; the objects to some degree orbit each other rather than just one orbiting the other.

So, we really need a good understanding on how binary star systems form. If they both coalesce from the same cloud, then Jupiter can indeed be seen as an "almost" star that had all the right components, and could have formed in a way similar to a binary system, but it simply didn't pickup enough mass during formation.

Re:It makes sense (2, Informative)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983739)

You find the following lacking?

So: Jupiter is *not* a BD; it formed like a planet, in the disk around the Sun. It also has about 1/1000 the mass of the Sun, or about 1/80 of the mass it needs to fuse hydrogen.
Plus the fact that Phil Plait is a real astronomer? I'd take his word over yours anyday...

Re:It makes sense (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984205)

I said in my explanation that Jupiter is indeed not a Brown Dwarf, and that the linked text did explain that well. My point is that being excluded from the technical designation of brown dwarf does not exclude it from the less specific, and not as specifically defined designation of "failed star".

I'd also question your term "real astronomer". I minored in astronomy in college and am still an avid amateur. Perhaps Galileo wasn't a "real astronomer" either since he never obtained a PhD in the discipline.

Re:It makes sense (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984527)

Lol... did you seriously just compare yourself to Galileo because you *minored* in astronomy? Tool.

What makes the guy an actual astronomer is that he's performed real science and advanced the discipline. The same thing that made Galileo a real astronomer. The fact that you look at stars through a $300 telescope on the weekends doesn't make you an astronomer in that, or any, sense. You're a star-gazer.

Re:It makes sense (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985315)

My point is that being excluded from the technical designation of brown dwarf does not exclude it from the less specific, and not as specifically defined designation of "failed star".

But, in that case, does the term have any meaning???

Am I a failed giant, or someone who is of average height?? Or a failed famous person because I'm not famous? That sounds silly -- a hill isn't a failed mountain, it's a hill. A huge planet isn't a failed star, it's a huge planet.

If Jupiter wasn't big enough for the step which reached "almost star", then it sounds like it's an "almost-almost star", in which case (to my layman understanding) continuing to call it a failed star is reaching quite a bit as it's still rather far removed from having had sufficient mass to be "almost" a star.

If it's a gas giant, and not a brown dwarf, doesn't that *mean* that it isn't a failed star because it wasn't ever big enough in the first place? It seems like an arbitrary designation to call it a failed star when it never would have had a chance.

Cheers

Re:It makes sense (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985077)

Just because someone is X doesn't mean that person is right regarding X, just that he's somewhat less likely to be wrong. Also just because they may be right doesn't mean they answered the proper question.

More importantly YOU are saying that the parent is wrong despite him specifically saying that Phil Plait is correct. In other words now YOU'RE claiming to know more than the parent, how do YOU back up your credentials since you find that so vital?

hmm (2, Insightful)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982067)

How could life, as we know it, exist in an atmosphere dominated by methane? Even if there was liquid water, how do we know that it is rich enough in oxygen to support life? I'm thinking that there is nothing to see here. Look somewhere else.

Re:hmm (4, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982207)

How could life, as we know it, exist in an atmosphere dominated by methane?

It wouldn't, of course. But there could be life as we don't know it. There's nothing magic about oxygen: it's merely a good oxidiser and we have lots of it. In some exotic environments on Earth, there's life that doesn't respire oxygen; and how did you think it got there, in the first place? Photosynthesising plants made it all. What do you think they breathed?

Complex organic chemistry + lots of energy + a rich environment = ...well, we don't know, really. But it's bound to be interesting.

What were the odds of THAT? (1)

mathcam (937122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984035)

There's nothing magic about oxygen: it's merely a good oxidiser
Pfft. I suppose next you'll be telling me that if Earth had methane in abundance instead, we'd all be methodists.

Re:hmm (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982223)

We have methane eating bacteria here [softpedia.com] already. There is a great deal of life as we know it that doesn't need oxygen. I think you are grossly oversimplifying and misunderstand what "life as we know it" really means. Just be cause us squishy hairless monkeys need large amounts of oxygen doesn't mean everything around us does too.

Re:hmm (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982357)

Ever heard of 'anaerobic respiration' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_respiration)?

Re:hmm (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982417)

How could life, as we know it, exist in an atmosphere dominated by methane?

It's better for many kinds of life than an atmosphere filled with this horribly dangerous and aggressive oxygen stuff ...

Re:hmm (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982465)

Even if there was liquid water, how do we know that it is rich enough in oxygen to support life?

Last, I checked plants don't need oxygen but CO2 and they are mostly interested in the Carbon and release the oxygen part as a by product.

However, I wouldn't think photosynthesis would work too well out that far, but as biological history goes... Plants came first and then animals.

Re:hmm (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983381)

Last, I checked plants don't need oxygen but CO2 and they are mostly interested in the Carbon and release the oxygen part as a by product.

Plants do breathe oxygen --- the photosynthesis happens as a separate process that happens in parallel. Admittedly, they don't use much of it (they don't get about much), but if you put them in a pure CO2 atmosphere, they'll die.

Insert standard disclaimer about plants with weird freaky biochemistry here. There's always something that behaves oddly and breaks the rules.

Re:hmm (1)

daniorerio (1070048) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982883)

Very easily, no oxygen was present when life originated here on earth either. All the oxygen present here now was produced later by photosynthetic organisms, allowing aerobic life forms to evolve. So oxygen is not a requirement for life to form, probably it even helps if it is absent, being all toxic and all...

Re:hmm (1)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982911)

"enough in oxygen to support life" There was no oxygen in Earth's atmosphere when life formed. Oxygen was toxic to early life. Some of these early microbes are still around -- We called them "anaerobic". Oxygen still kills them. Only later as the oxygen level rose did life evolve a defence for oxygen then later a way to actually use oxygen

Pretty harsh (4, Funny)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982111)

a rain of methane and ethane drizzling down, filling the moon's lakes and seas.

I'm guessing this is a non-smoking moon?

Re:Pretty harsh (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984239)

Given the lack of oxygen, you'd have a hard time lighting a cigarette anyway.

Off topic: Headline (4, Funny)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982121)

Saturn's Moons Harboring Water?

CmdrTaco's pun routine is up and running this morning I see...

Re:Off topic: Headline (1)

cain (14472) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983471)

Water you expect with this guy?

Re:Off topic: Headline (1)

cain (14472) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983505)

He seas an opportunity and he takes it...

Can't resist... (1)

Leuf (918654) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983485)

Saturn is harboring water? Oh great, when did Bush declare war on water? I guess he figures the terrorists are 60% water, and then Katrina... So now NASA has a new mission to seek out and destroy all extra-terrestrial water?

Re:Off topic: Headline (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983755)

Not a pun at all.
A pun is a play on words, such that one word or phrase can have different meanings, or using a different word but similar in sound, for comic effect. eg. "Will this elastic do the job ? At a stretch".
A harbor (or harbour) is a harbor is a harbor, in whatever context, and means the same thing through each.
Google it [google.co.uk]
Now if the headline was "Reports of Saturns moons harboring life don't hold water" then that's a pun.
Man discovered dead, he was a cigarette addict - well there's your smoking gun. Which one of these women is really married to God - None. The balloon magician was good, but his prices were inflated. 2 quarrymen have been slated for dismissal.
etc.

Re:Off topic: Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984057)

Dude - you must be a riot at parties.

AGREED: ABOVE WAS *NOT* A PUN (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984753)

Thank you for pointing that out. I was going to as well.

Re:Off topic: Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984519)

Considering what a "pink taco" is, why are you guys surprised that CmdrTaco likes puns?

I get it: harboring water (0, Redundant)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982131)

Harboring water? It's pun-tastic.

How can't it? (0, Redundant)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982137)

It must be. How can you harbor [wikipedia.org] *without* water?

Re:How can't it? With Methane, duh! (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982671)

Methane instead of water, get it? Harbors are on the seas/land interface.

ESA (2, Informative)

LuSiDe (755770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982159)

ESA is an initialism standing for European Space Agency [wikipedia.org] . If you write NASA with capital letters (in proper English one should do this) you should do the same with ESA.

Re:ESA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20982257)

So, the Mexican equivalent would be MASA, right?

Re:ESA (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983061)

Apples and oranges. The official logo uses lower-case (http://www.esa.int/).

Re:ESA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984539)

In the US acronyms tend to be spelled with all capital letters. In Europe then tend to be spelled with only the first letter capitalized, or even in all smalls in some cases. It is usually best to just pick one style and stick with it.

http://mrsquid.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

I want it! (1)

Vipersfate (1143119) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982183)

I really like the fact that there might be water out there in the solar system. How can it be so abundant on Earth, and nowhere else? It's just every time that there is something about water on other surfaces in our solar system, it's seems gimmicky. Remember, water on Mars? Moon? And we never hear anything else about it.

Re:I want it! (3, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982343)

I really like the fact that there might be water out there in the solar system.

Water is abundant in the universe. To get the stuff off a planet, you basically have to boil it off (using a combination of temperature (see Venus) and/or low pressure (see Moon, Mars)). Otherwise, if you have hydrogen (most common stuff in the universe) and oxygen (pretty common stuff in the universe), you're going to end up with water.

Now, liquid water, that's another story.

How can it be so abundant on Earth, and nowhere else?

Earth is dry compared to objects that pretty much consist of water with some rock mixed in. Earth has a little bit of water sitting on the surface, and that's it.

Re:I want it! (1)

Convector (897502) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985063)

Actually, there's gobs more of water down in the mantle than there is on the surface. When oceanic plates subduct, they bring along seawater. At depth the water isn't free-flowing but bonds to the silicates. It's then released back into the wild at mid-ocean ridges and volcanoes at roughly the same rate it's subducted, but there's a huge reservoir in the subsurface. In the transition zone alone (between 410 km and 670 km depth) there's probably 10 times the amount of water as is on the surface. Water in the Saturnian system is nothing new. Water ice is very abundant beyond the frost line and is a major constituent of most outer solar system satellites. If the satellites are tidally heated, the subsurface ice can melt (e.g. Europa, Ganymede, probably Enceladus).

Re:I want it! (1)

jsz0 (1174083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982495)

I completely disagree. We hear about water on Mars all the time in scientific papers. There is definitely water there in the ice caps and perhaps under the surface. The reason you're not hearing about it is due to the ignorant media, not the scientific research which is on-going and producing good results.

Re:I want it! (1)

Vipersfate (1143119) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983419)

You are right about the media. I just wish they would at least take more of an interest in this. Instead, they want Paris Hilton and Britney Spears

Re:I want it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983661)

Remember, water on Mars?


Of course I remember Water on Mars! [nasa.gov] I think the existence of water on Mars is pretty well documented, as the photo proves.

Ewww...? (3, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982221)

Methane rain drizzling down to form lakes and rivers?
Is that the celestial equivalent of wet farts? :-(

That must be proof of an Intelligent Evil Designer if any.

Re:Ewww...? (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982313)

Given that methane is odourless, no.

Re:Ewww...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984269)

farts don't have to have an odour.

Enceladus, Tiger Stripes, and Jets (3, Informative)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982613)

You can find the whole press release about the correlation between the Tiger Stripes and jets of Enceladus here [ciclops.org] .

Carolyn Porco gave a good TED Talk about this. (2, Informative)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982711)

She discusses the Cassini mission in detail, including what we've learned about Titan and this strange behavior on Enceladus. It beats reading dead text.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/178 [ted.com]

Enceladus naming of sulci (2, Informative)

mattr (78516) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982997)

I was intrigued about why the names of those tiger stripe cracks are middle eastern cities. Googling I found this article [planetary.org] which notes that there is a convention of naming features on this moon after places in the Arabian Nights. The page is cool and tells you what a sulcus is. And there's is a link on that page to a giant 6mb map [arizona.edu] with names of features on it.

Already Known? (1)

avirrey (972127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983115)

Old news don't ya think? I found out about a life bearing Saturn Moon just by watching Cowboy Bebop... Get with the program! =)

--
X's and O's for all my foes.

Scientists say life on three-one impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983481)

Scientists here on Six-six dismissed the possibility that there may be life on the three-one, despite the recent detection of methane on its worldhost.

"First," said astrobiologist Zune Ipod, "although the worldhost does in fact contain methane, there has been no evidence of any methane on its only detected world. Second, there has been no liquid of any kind detected on the worldhost system's world. Although there are various liquids on the worldhost, the primary liquid detected is dyhydrogen oxide, which is a deadly poison. In fact, it is so hot on three-one and its worldhost that dyhydrogen oxide is a gas on most of the worldhost's atmosphere. If you were to move our world to worldhost three, not only would all life vaporise, if somehow it didn't the gaseous dyhydrogen oxide would kill all living organisms.

"Its worldhost is far too small for its world to harbor life, even if it wasn't so incredibly, hellishly hot. It is so hot that methane only exists as a gas, while the deadly dyhydrogen oxide exists as solid, liquid, and even gas.

"We are holding open the possibility, however, of life on one of system five's four major worlds."

Some science fiction writers have speculated on the possibility of the existance of some wierd sort of life at those hellishly hot temperatures, but those stories are simply juvenile fiction.

Click here for page two [mcgrew.info]

More Confirmation of Electric Universe Theory (0, Troll)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983979)

Many people will not realize this because they have not been reading what is being said, but the recent announcement that the jets of Enceladus are hot point sources that originate from the "tiger stripes" (more technically called rilles) is further confirmation for the Electric Universe Theory.

I would like to point people especially to the video at http://ciclops.org/view.php?id=1702&js=1&navjs=1 [ciclops.org] . Now, watch the rotation of the planet, then re-start the movie and observe the lack of movement for the jets. You can see for yourself that the jets are rotating across the planet rather than with it, presumably along the rilles. The video is rather undeniable. Within the EU view, the hot point sources constitute electrical plasma guns that are excavating materials from the surface of the planet, leaving rilles in their wake. For a fuller treatment of the situation, visit http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2006/arch06/060313moonjets.htm [thunderbolts.info] .

People, you will perhaps get no better opportunity to see for yourself that space plasmas can be highly electrical. The field of astrophysics is incorrectly modeling these plasmas as fluids, as if they only respond to gravity. But the space plasmas instead respond to electromagnetic forces, as decades of laboratory plasma research have already confirmed for us.

This is not the first time in the history of science when the momentum of belief has overcome reason. From The Electric Life of Michael Faraday by Alan Hirshfeld, page 73:

On October 1, 1820, Humphrey Davy swept into the laboratory of the Roayl Institution with remarkable news for Michael Faraday. While performing a demonstration before a science class, Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted had noticed that an electrical current flowing in a wire moved a nearby magnetic compass needle. Whenever Oersted brought the compass toward the wire, something wrested the needle from its tenuous alignment with the earth's magnetic field and swung it in a different direction. Evidently, current in a wire creates its own halo of force -- later proved to be a magnetic field, not from an ordinary magnet, but from an electrical impostor. Oersted's observation confirmed what some scientists had suspected: Electricity and magnetism were fundamentally related. (This hunch was based on a philosophical stance that all forces are manifestations of a single fundamental force; scientists today are still trying to prove such a "grand uninified theory."

That no one before Oersted had observed the magnetic aspect of electricity may seem astonishing in retrospect, especially when battery-powered electric circuits were common in 1820s-era laboratories, and compasses had been around for centuries. True, the influence of a current-carrying wire on a compass needle can be subtle. (I've tried. It helps to wrap the wire several times around the compass to concentrate the magnetic effect.) But, more important, most scientists at the time had been educated (indoctrinated?) to believe that electricity and magnetism were distinct phenomena. In France, for example, where the ideas of the influential eighteenth-century physicist Charles Coulomb dominated the scientific community, electricity and magnetism were understood to be different fluids that do not interact with each other. After Oersted's announcement, physicist Andre-Marie Ampere lamented to a friend, "You are quite right to say that it is inconceivable that for twenty years no one tried the action of the voltaic pile on a magnet. I believe, however, that I can assign a cause for this; it lies in Coulomb's hypothesis on the nature of magnetic action; this hypothesis was believed as though it were a fact [and] it rejected any idea of action between electricity and the so-called magnetic wires. This prohibition was such that when [physicist] M Arago spoke of these new phenomena at the Institute, they were rejected ... Every one decided that they were impossible.

And today, we consider it to be just completely obvious that magnets and currents interact with one another. There will likely come a day when people will similarly consider it to be obvious that space plasmas are electrical and can transfer energy over great distances.

But, so long as people refuse to educate themselves on the debate over space plasmas and the historical context for that debate, opting for those theories they find most entertaining or going along with whatever it is that the most scientists believe, history will continue to repeat itself. The people of the world should not expect that mainstream astrophysicists will just abandon the current theories; there will be no such headlines tomorrow morning or any other day, regardless of our observations of space. The future of astrophysics, which much of science is based upon, is currently in the hands of the people themselves, including people here on Slashdot. People have to be willing to look at the evidence that is being offered by the EU Theorists and objectively consider it, no differently than they would the more popular theories. The idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof may sound good on paper, but in practice, it has become a mechanism for preventing people from reading what alternative theories state. Pseudo-skeptics will oftentimes point to one single enigmatic data point as not being sufficient to overturn all of the more popular theories. But this is a false choice: no single data point can overturn the mainstream theories; we must look at the complete body of evidence and compare *that* to the popular theories. This pseudo-skepticism is a stable state for science, for it gives people an excuse to not inform themselves about competing theories. And if people do not know what EU Theory states, then they cannot realize the degree to which our observations are supporting it. Only when a person educates himself of the theory and the full body of evidence that supports it can he really understand the debate. And only when people en masse educate themselves can science move forward. It's perhaps appropriate that our open-mindedness and objective curiosity ultimately determines our own future quality of life.

Re:More Confirmation of Electric Universe Theory (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984847)

plz to learn fundamental physics kthxbye

looking for life? looking for water? (1, Interesting)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984491)

Looking for water? We got water here. Two thirds of the surface of this planet is covered with water, several miles deep in places. We got all the water that you'll ever need or want right here. For free.

Looking for life? We got life here. Lots of it. In fact there's so much life here that our main global industry is the creation of machines that are used to kill life here. Guns, munitions, bombs, atomic bombs, death planes, death satellites, endless first-person-shooter video games to prepare our young for killing. You want life? We've got plenty! Help yourself!

The point is that spending millions of dollars to look for life and water on other planets is insane. We already have plenty of it (it being whatever you're looking for) right here, right now.

What the people who are spending millions (hundreds of millions actually) of dollars on space travel are looking for is an easy paycheck that comes with a science-fiction fantasy attached. They should admit this to themselves and stop bullshitting the rest of us.

Then they should go become Hollywood screenwriters and contribute something useful to our society.

Am I pushing your buttons? Am I pissing you off?

Get real. ...and grow up.

Re:looking for life? looking for water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984703)

> Am I pushing your buttons? Am I pissing you off?

          No, you are just giving ma a giggle at what an ignorant twit you are.

Re:looking for life? looking for water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984755)

And the Nobel prize for Tolling goes to...

Why you shouldn't mod this down. (0, Troll)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985029)

The above message was clearing written by some loser with a serious attitude problem who clearly doesn't understand the beauty and elegance and absolute necessity of space travel. How could anyone be so dense? Must not have had cool science books with cool pictures as a kid. Tough. But, this being Slashdot, where space travel has the same status as Jesus in Oklahoma, it would be easy to just blast this fool back to slime by mod-ing him (her? it? shit!) down to -100. A deep and endless black hole that Slashdot reserves for losers who interrupt our beautiful discussion of really cool methane sparklers.

But we shouldn't!

Because there are millions of people out there who think exactly like this pathetic fool loser. And all these pathetic fool losers just like this guy actually control the money that we need to bring the absolute necessity of space travel into reality. If any of this cool shit is going to happen, we have to convince these pathetic fool losers to give us the money. And to do this we have to blow their arguments away in order that they too can come to see the beauty and elegance and absolute necessity of space travel, just like we do.

So let them speak! We will listen. We will study the ravings of these pathetic fool losers and turn their own words and twisted logic into arguments that are crystal brilliant diamonds of logic that clearly demonstate the beauty and elegance and absolute necessity of space travel!

So, no, don't mod them down. Have pity and patronize them. They will eventually come over to our side. Hell, if they're on Slashdot, they're already most of the way there.

Re:Why you shouldn't mod this down. (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985395)

So I must admit that I'm a little lost.

Both of your posts seem heavily laden with sarcasm. Which, if either, of them represents your real opinion?

Or were we not supposed to realize that you replied to your own post?

Re:looking for life? looking for water? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985285)

The point of space travel is that sooner or later we will kill ourselves off on this planet. Right now unhappy teens can go hack some government server or shoot a couple of classmates. In 30 years they'll be able to make bacteria that make airborne AIDS look like heaven. Some may not even mean to kill anyone but just fuck up. That's assuming we don't nuke ourselves into the stone age or that our society doesn't implode.

The point of any life form is to breed and spread, the more of it there is and the more places its in the less likely it's to die off.

As for life on other planets, well thats a scientific justification. All life on earth, no matter what form or how different, comes from a single source. We can't be close to sure (for quite some time at least) of how it came about or what other possibilities there were. Other life may teach us nothing or it may open up dozens of new paths for biologists.

Am I pushing your buttons? Am I pissing you off?
No, not really. I've seen much better written argument for your point, yours is just a weak troll. Hell you actually admit you were trolling.

Life on foreign worlds (1)

mknewman (557587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985445)

When is this pop-sci trend of anytime something about space comes into the news the tagline has to be 'may contain life'. It's a poor excuse becuase it's sheer speculation. What we DO know is that there is water there. There is also loads of hard radiation and no visible cities, green belts, or anything else remotely indicating that there is life. Get a life folks. Do science for science's sake, if someday in the far future we actually encounter life, celebrate then, but until then find a different reason for exploration.
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