Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Lakes of Titan

This Cassini photo, courtesy of JPL, shows lakes at Titan's north pole. Titan's south pole contains a lake the size of Lake Ontario. Methane and hydrocarbons filling these lakes would indicate an energy source within Titan. Whether these are related to subsurface lakes in Antarctica is an exciting subject for research. The Cassini spacecraft flew by Titan on July 22 and will visit again on September 7, 2006.
This month news of a changing speed of light was picked up by MSN, FOXNews, and even Slashdot. Nice to have both ends of the political spectrum interested. Not long ago even talking about a changing c would get you thrown out of the room. Another girl was right about being up against so much opposition .
The lower photo shows material jetting from Enceladus' south pole and resupplying Saturn's E Ring. Without replenishment, the Rings would disappear within 100 million years. Saturn's Rings are long-lived features, possibly old as the planets themselves. This brings to mind Thomas Gold's theory that Earth continually produces hydrocarbons in her interior. The energy source that fires this jet is within tiny Enceladus, concentrated on the South Pole.


Blogger Rae Ann said...

I must confess that I am "another girl". Thanks for the mention! These lakes on Titan are fascinating, and the sci-fi fan in me would love to imagine some rudimentary forms of life brewing there. But really, Life is so persistent and hardy that it would not be surprising at all to learn that there was life of some sort there.

8:18 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Hi Rae Ann: I like your blog and your choice of songs too. Gwen Stefani was right on in her lyrics for "I'm Just a Girl". You understand how much opposition a woman can face, especially if her ideas are unconventional. Just like Life, we have to be persistent and hardy. You may have inspired me to add Joan Jett to my itunes list.

9:58 AM  
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Without replenishment, the Rings would disappear within 100 million years.

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