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First extra-terrestrial lakes found

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  • User profile image
    Minh

    ...by NASA, on Titan, moon of Saturn. But don't pack your swimming trunks just yet, guys, it's filled with liquid methane. That's cold.

  • User profile image
    Angus

    Cool, have you got an article I could read?

    Angus Higgins

  • User profile image
    Minh
  • User profile image
    Heywood_J


    Actually, these are radar images and not conclusive.  The dark areas represent a smooth surface which they think *MIGHT* be liquid.  I've been following Cassini for the past couple of years and it's fascinating.  It was really a disappointment that they didn't do a better job with the Huygens part of the mission.  It would have been really cool to have a Rover wandering around Titan like they do on Mars.


  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    True, they look like lakes superficially - but I tend to be a little more skeptical Smiley They might be lakes, and that would be cool (regarding methane, no pun intended).

    I would love to see a Beagle up there Smiley

  • User profile image
    Charles

    Heywood_J wrote:
    
    Actually, these are radar images and not conclusive.  The dark areas represent a smooth surface which they think *MIGHT* be liquid.  I've been following Cassini for the past couple of years and it's fascinating.  It was really a disappointment that they didn't do a better job with the Huygens part of the mission.  It would have been really cool to have a Rover wandering around Titan like they do on Mars.




    That's coming, in a subsequent mission.

    This is incredibly fascinating news. I still hold on to my assertion that there may infact be biological systems operating on Titan, though this is entirely speculative and based solely on atmospheric dynamics of the moon and a LOT of faith in an unproven, maybe even rediculous, hypothesis that asserts life to be an autochonous geological property of rocky planets. Smiley

    C

  • User profile image
    JohnAskew

    Charles wrote:
     I still hold on to my assertion that there may infact be biological systems operating on Titan, though this is entirely speculative and based solely on atmospheric dynamics of the moon and a LOT of faith in an unproven, maybe even rediculous, hypothesis that asserts life to be an autochonous geological property of rocky planets.

    C



    It's ridiculous that I can't spell autochronus...

    I'd say any theory that asserts that rocks, left alone for a long enough time, will one day start walking away -- well, that makes sense to me already -- reminds me of a girlfriend I once had...

    I do like that theory C.

  • User profile image
    Minh

    I think liqueous substance has more to contribute to life than rocks. The whole energy transference thing...

  • User profile image
    Charles

    Smiley

    John, maybe I should have used the expression "geobiologic surface property" to better clarify...

    Something, some process or collection of processes, are taking methane out of the atmosphere of Titan, giving Titan a dynamic atmosphere. If the methane lakes pump methane into Titan's sky, what takes it out? Sure, it rains methane on Titan, but does that alone account for the steady removal of the gas? Further, are the methane lakes alone responsible for replenishing methane into Titan's atmosphere?

    C

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    Charles wrote:

    John, maybe I should have used the expression "geobiologic surface property" to better clarify...

    Something, some process or collection of processes, are taking methane out of the atmosphere of Titan, giving Titan a dynamic atmosphere. If the methane lakes pump methane into Titan's sky, what takes it out? Sure, it rains methane on Titan, but does that alone account for the steady removal of the gas? Further, are the methane lakes alone responsible for replenishing methane into Titan's atmosphere?

    C



    Don't forget that the Sun breaks down methane (allowing the hydrogen to escape the atmosphere), which would leave Titan with Ethane. I don't believe a whole lot of Ethane is found on Titan, if any, that we know of to date. That report could change though. I like www.AstroBio.net/news Smiley

    Interesting discussion!

  • User profile image
    JohnAskew

    So Titan is just stinking up the heavens...

    Philosophically, I believe time brings order to matter.

    That's why life can pop up like pages in a kid's book in my mind (I spend lots of time alone there).

    What on Titan would want Methane? Yee-uck.

    Wink

  • User profile image
    Charles

    Minh,

    Europa, which may have a sub surface liquid ocean of salt water, is a rocky planetary body. By "rocky planet" I mean a planet that has a surface (as oposed to a gas planet like Jupiter or Neptune). That said, there could very well be life forms that exist in suspended states on gas giants. There could very well be, and probably are, several classes of Life in the universe.

    Thing is, can Life exist without a planetary home? If Life can be defined as a native planetary surface property that emerges as a natural consequence of, as well as catalyst for, planetary evolution, like a planet's atmosphere or geology, then this question isn't really as interesting (life floating around space with no home).

    C

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    JohnAskew wrote:
    So Titan is just stinking up the heavens...

    Philosophically, I believe time brings order to matter.

    That's why life can pop up like pages in a kid's book in my mind (I spend lots of time alone there).

    What on Titan would want Methane? Yee-uck.



    John, you're somewhat true Smiley Of course time will eventually bring forth a heathdeath in the universe, as all the useable energy is expelled from its sources. However, just because things calm down, so to speak, with time - that doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing Smiley

    You could look at a persons day to day activities, and notice that they are constantly breathing, moving their arms, and flinging their legs - but, with time, say 80 years, they will stop...and all will be orderly...actually, they will be dead.

    The thing that life depends on is not 'order' so to speak. "ABABABABABA" is orderly, "AAAAAAAAA" is orderly, but "Abracadabra Zippity Zap" isn't just orderly, it's specific order and complexity.

    Give life a little more credit Wink

  • User profile image
    Minh

    Charles wrote:

    Thing is, can Life exist without a planetary home?
    I saw something on the Animal Planet where a mite (or really small bug?) survive the cold & vacumn of space -- and was revive.

  • User profile image
    JohnAskew

    What type of credit is due to some methane-sucking life form?

    :O

  • User profile image
    Charles

    Minh wrote:
    
    Charles wrote:
    Thing is, can Life exist without a planetary home?
    I saw something on the Animal Planet where a mite (or really small bug?) survive the cold & vacumn of space -- and was revive.


    Fine... But it did not emerge from and evolve in the vacuum of space...

  • User profile image
    Minh

    JohnAskew wrote:
    What type of credit is due to some methane-sucking life form?

    You jest, but what if that methane-sucking life form fart perfumes? Eh?

  • User profile image
    Minh

    Charles wrote:
    Minh wrote:
    Charles wrote:
    Thing is, can Life exist without a planetary home?
    I saw something on the Animal Planet where a mite (or really small bug?) survive the cold & vacumn of space -- and was revive.


    Fine... But it did not emerge from and evolve in the vacuum of space...

    You mean like that sentient energy cloud on Star Trek? Smiley

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