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Fraser
2004-Nov-08, 05:31 PM
SUMMARY: NASA's Cassini spacecraft took this image of Titan as it sped past the moon on Oct. 26, 2004. It was taken from an altitude of 2,500 km (1,553 miles) using the spacecraft's aperture radar, which can penetrate thick clouds and reveal the texture of the ground underneath. The dark regions are areas which are smooth, and the bright areas are more bumpy. It could be that the smooth areas are cryovolcanic flows, where water-rich liquid has welled up from inside Titan's warmer interior and spread out on the surface.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

Guest
2004-Nov-08, 06:13 PM
this is a great finding
but might be bad news for the cassini/huygens lander ?

dave_f
2004-Nov-08, 06:20 PM
Originally posted by Guest@Nov 8 2004, 01:13 PM
this is a great finding
but might be bad news for the cassini/huygens lander ?
Huygens could land on solid rock and still fulfil its primary mission objective (take atmosphereic measurements and pictures of the descent). Survival after landing would be a bonus in that regard, not a goal.

I'm willing, at this point, to speculate that there aren't "great" oceans of hydrocarbon compounds as was previously hoped on Titan. Probably it would be more like a "slick" that covers much of the planet's surface. That's just my guess.

mxsxsm
2004-Nov-08, 11:17 PM
The sort of exotic enigmatic phenomena manifesting itself on Titan makes the NASA planning guys drool as it becomes the overwhelming favorite destination for a major orbiter/ lander/ rover/ (submarine?)-type mission.

The sad, sobering reality is that we can't expect this sort of grand exploratory extravaganza to happen before at least ten years.

First of all, every last bit of data of Titan's mysterious topography will have to be exhaustively analyzed and studied before we can begin to engineer the sort of device best suited to navigate/explore Titan's various strange, unknown surface features and landscape.

It would not be unreasonable to assume that the time lag between knowing Titan well enough to create the ideal surface/sub-surface explorer and the actual prototype to be in the 2-4 year range.

Three years plus the approximate seven years to arrive would make the next phase of Titan exploration to be at least ten years away, if not more.

Sigh!

Darth Maestro
2004-Nov-09, 07:11 AM
Could somebody predict, based on the elements in Titan's atmosphere, what type of surface structure(and contents) Titan would need to create/support an atmosphere with those elements in it?

I think that if more visual and exciting things are found on Titan, it will spark a huge interest throughout the ignorant war loving people in this world and make them realize that there are other things that can drive a race.

If not Titan, there's still the moons of Jupiter

Cheers
(no offense when I said more visual and exciting --- most people don't share the viewers of this websites enthusiasm about space --- at least not where I'm from)

antoniseb
2004-Nov-09, 01:35 PM
Originally posted by Darth Maestro@Nov 9 2004, 07:11 AM
I think that if more visual and exciting things are found on Titan, it will spark a huge interest
I think you are over-estimating the immediate importance of Titan to the vast populace of the Earth. You and I, and most members of this forum are driven by the images from the Mars Exploration Rovers, Cassini, etc. And are eagerly waiting the decade or so till we see the images from Rosetta and Messenger. These are great things [to us].

I expect that it will be thirty years before we launch the first Titan Rover missions, and that may seem like a horribly long time to you, but realistically, that's the best you can hope for.

dave_f
2004-Nov-09, 05:26 PM
Originally posted by antoniseb@Nov 9 2004, 08:35 AM
I expect that it will be thirty years before we launch the first Titan Rover missions, and that may seem like a horribly long time to you, but realistically, that's the best you can hope for.
So, how long do you think it will take to set up the oil rigs up there? ;)

antoniseb
2004-Nov-09, 06:02 PM
Originally posted by dave_f@Nov 9 2004, 05:26 PM
So, how long do you think it will take to set up the oil rigs up there?
I don't know. Oil is now going for about $50 per barrel. The Cassini mission cost three billion dollars, and is not able to lift a barrel of oil from Titan, and return it to Earth, but lets say you could do that by only increasing the cost by a factor of sixteen. So when oil goes up to by a factor of a billion, [corrected for inflation] we'll pump oil on Titan.

Or sooner if we will also be using the oil on Titan.

Darth Maestro
2004-Nov-10, 04:51 AM
"I expect that it will be thirty years before we launch the first Titan Rover missions"

With respect ... my thought was that the more we find that captures the attention of the masses .... the more popular it get's .... more people are excited and interested towards making this stuff happen. More familiar and visual images might spark an interest in people who don't already have one .... then people will educate themselves and spend more time applying themselves towards space. Then it might not take 30 years.

Doesn't oil (or the natural process that makes crude oil) require ancient living creatures or plants (plankton) that have decayed over millions of years ..... this is why they are fossil fuels and are non-renewable recources on Earth

Cheers