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calendar   Wednesday - June 29, 2005

Sunbathing On Titan

Take a look at the picture below. This was taken by the Cassini spacecraft as it circles Saturn’s largest moon. Researchers and scientists think it is a large “lake” because of the smooth formation of the “shoreline”. The lake is 235km by 75km, which is pretty good-sized. I took one look at it and instantly knew what it was .... a gigantic swimming pool. The deep end is upper left and the children’s wading area is in the lower right. If you look real closely you can see four white cabanas around the perimeter. On top of all that, it’s in the southern hemisphere. Case closed.

I only have two questions: (1) what SPF sun-factor do the inhabitants use while lounging and (2) just how freaking monstrous are the hemadrones who inhabit this planet that they need a swimming pool this huge?

image

A dark, lake-like feature on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has been imaged by the US-European Cassini spacecraft. Researchers have long speculated that Titan might harbour open bodies of liquid methane - and the 235km by 75km target is the best candidate to date.

But they are being cautious about interpreting the feature, which has what looks to be a smooth shoreline. The scientists say the object could simply be dark, solid deposits caught in a sinkhole of volcanic caldera.

“This feature is unique in our exploration of Titan so far,” said Dr Elizabeth Turtle, Cassini imaging team member at the University of Arizona, US. “Its perimeter is intriguingly reminiscent of the shorelines of lakes on Earth that are smoothed by water erosion and deposition,” she added.

The feature lies in Titan’s cloudiest region, towards the south pole, which is presumably the most likely site of recent methane rainfall. This, coupled with the shore-like smoothness of the feature’s perimeter makes it hard for scientists to resist speculation about what might be filling the lake, if it indeed is one.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 06/29/2005 at 12:40 PM   
Filed Under: • Science-Technology •  
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