Skip to comments.Cassini Spacecraft Finds Ocean May Exist Beneath Titan
Posted on 03/22/2008 8:40:05 AM PDT by RightWhale
Pasadena CA (SPX) Mar 20, 2008 NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered evidence that points to the existence of an underground ocean of water and ammonia on Saturn's moon Titan. The findings made using radar measurements of Titan's rotation will appear in the March 21 issue of the journal Science. "With its organic dunes, lakes, channels and mountains, Titan has one of the most varied, active and Earth-like surfaces in the solar system," said Ralph Lorenz, lead author of the paper and Cassini radar scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., "Now we see changes in the way Titan rotates, giving us a window into Titan's interior beneath the surface."
Members of the mission's science team used Cassini's Synthetic Aperture Radar to collect imaging data during 19 separate passes over Titan between October 2005 and May 2007. The radar can see through Titan's dense, methane-rich atmospheric haze, detailing never-before-seen surface features and establishing their locations on the moon's surface.
Using data from the radar's early observations, the scientists and radar engineers established the locations of 50 unique landmarks on Titan's surface. They then searched for these same lakes, canyons and mountains in the reams of data returned by Cassini in its later flybys of Titan.
They found prominent surface features had shifted from their expected positions by up to 19 miles. A systematic displacement of surface features would be difficult to explain unless the moon's icy crust was decoupled from its core by an internal ocean, making it easier for the crust to move.
"We believe that about 62 miles beneath the ice and organic-rich surface is an internal ocean of liquid water mixed with ammonia," said Bryan Stiles of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in, Pasadena, Calif. Stiles also is a contributing author to the paper.
The study of Titan is a major goal of the Cassini-Huygens mission because it may preserve, in deep-freeze, many of the chemical compounds that preceded life on Earth. Titan is the only moon in the solar system that possesses a dense atmosphere. The moon's atmosphere is 1.5 times denser than Earth's. Titan is the largest of Saturn's moons, bigger than the planet Mercury.
"The combination of an organic-rich environment and liquid water is very appealing to astrobiologists," Lorenz said. "Further study of Titan's rotation will let us understand the watery interior better, and because the spin of the crust and the winds in the atmosphere are linked, we might see seasonal variation in the spin in the next few years."
Cassini scientists will not have long to wait before another go at Titan. On March 25, just prior to its closest approach at an altitude of 620 miles, Cassini will employ its Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer to examine Titan's upper atmosphere. Immediately after closest approach, the spacecraft's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer will capture high-resolution images of Titan's southeast quadrant.
Ever notice that everything they find is always never seen?
No. There’s a ton that’s been found that has been seen.
Of course. That is because if it were visible it would already have been found.
I've never seen my bones, but they've been found using X-rays and film.
So there’s water there..... why isn’t there an advanced civilization? Isn’t that all it takes for life to spring up andd then mutate to advanced civilizations?
Ammonia would be an excellent source of nitrogen for fertilizer when they get around to farming Mars.
..sort of like justice, I want to believe in it, but I’ve never seen it.
And if we did try to farm Mars for anything... we'd end up with all the banking institutions and wallstreet sitting up derivatives to manage the transportation costs.... and the government bailing them out.
Did they find any dinosaur bones on Titan? All those fossil fuels there had to come from somewhere...
Yep... I agree with you.
If you can see your bones unaided, you need to review the decisions you made in the last few momments - at least one of them should be rethought.
Happy World Water Day
I still think when we find water on these other planets and moons that the evolutionists are going to need to explain why there isn’t advanced life there. Maybe they’ll claim it’s newer water than what is here on earth :)
Voyager here Houston. We have landed on Titan.
Houston: Do you have a historic observation for everyone watching.
Voyager: Roger Houston. The whole moon smells like...cat pee.
That will require some study. Say about 5 years and $1 billion.
Makes my femur hurt just thinkin' about it.
Because humans on earth is a blip in time. Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. The evidence of the first humans ia about 50,000 years ago. So there’s 4,499,950,000 years there wasn’t any human life (that we know about) on earth.
The odds of an advanced civilization being on Titan at the same exact time as ours is a Powerball-type longshot.
The NASA budget in 2007 was .5% of the total Federal budget. And only a fraction of that was for unmanned exploration.
Well that's silly. In fact part of this discovery came from "seeing" shifts in the surface topography of Titan in the short time that Cassini has been orbiting Saturn.
They found sulfur volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io, through visual observations.
They found fractured ice all over the surface of Europa, that was seen.
They found active stream gullies on Mars and ancient riverbeds by seeing them.
They found an asteroid with it's own little moon by seeing it.
They even saw a comet crash into Jupiter which left us with a whole host of new science to chew on.
Science is about discovery both visual and inferred from observation and calculation.
You have seen others - ever have a compound fracture?
Certainly it wouldn't be life like we have here... because the environment is different. It should be more advanced life there, that is capable of handling extreme temperatures. Isn't that the premis of evolution. That through mutation, survival of the fittest, etc life developed according to the environment around it?
And really, your analogy of a powerball longshot isn't even close to the true odds of life developing on this planet by itself.
Sorry but I still don’t see any water. It is only an assumption water is causing any shifting. Being a different planet, we have no idea what could cause it.
Not according to evolution through mutation. Life should have developed from that water that was capable of withstanding its environment.
It takes more than just water present to form life.
Perhaps there is/was life on Titan, we’ll find out soon enough I’m sure. My guess is that there is some micro aquatic life there.
BTW.. Pull the oar out of your ass.
Not trillions. Money spent on exploration and research is money well spent. NASA is not what it was back in the 60’s, but they are still way ahead of any other government organization on returns on the dollar spent.
How can there have been life there that wasn’t able to survive the environment? That wan’t able to mutate and pull itself up by it’s bootstraps? That wasn’t able to better itself?
They do have an idea what might be causing it.........water.
You’re too dense to understand this.
It better get busy mutating if it ever wants to amount to anything.....
We are probably not going to find life on Titan or any of the other outer moons except for Europa. It is just too cold. There might be liquid water, but not enough energy for life to make it.
If you detest evolution so much, then provide another scientific explanation that covers all the available evidence, including the age of the universe and Earth, dinosaur bones, meteor/comet impacts. When you have an explanation that also fits in with known physics, maybe I and others will listen seriously to you.
If you don't understand the complex science behind remote sensing, then you need to believe the people who do. The Earth has an iron core - no doubt whatsoever, but no one has ever seen it or observed it directly. No one with any scientific background disputes some things, because the evidence is rock solid through observations, direct and inferred. You could say that the Earth's core might be made of grape jelly since no one has been there, but if you want to take the time to learn the science you will see very quickly why the indirect evidence wins out for iron.
If your doctor tells you you have a brain tumor or are on the verge of an aneurysm because of indirect scientific evidence, are you going to doubt him until someone shows you first hand?
Everytime we find water on other planets without advanced life form we demonstrated that the evolutionists theories don't prove out.
No, but this assumption is based upon the data indicating that the major surface component of Titan is water ice.
But evolution through mutation teaches that life overcomes the environment. It adapts and configures itself to live and in fact advance regardless of the circumstances.
Any form of colonization is going to depend on local resources. The resource that is easiest to ship is human knowledge.
They don’t care. For people like them ignorance is bliss.
A British-led study of 550 million years of the fossil record has found evidence suggesting evolution drives animals to become increasingly more complex.
University of Bath researchers investigated the different evolutionary branches of the crustacean family tree seeking examples in which animals evolved that were simpler than their ancestors.
Instead they found organisms with increasingly more complex structures and features, suggesting there is some mechanism driving change in this direction.
“If you start with the simplest possible animal body, then there’s only one direction to evolve in — you have to become more complex,” said Matthew Wills of the University of Bath. “Sooner or later, however, you reach a level of complexity where it’s possible to go backwards and become simpler again.
“What’s astonishing,” he said, “is that hardly any crustaceans have taken this backwards route. Instead, almost all branches have evolved in the same direction, becoming more complex in parallel. This is the nearest thing to a pervasive evolutionary rule that’s been found.”
Sorry if we don't all just jump out there and believe what some want to articulate as a "logical" explanation.
You don’t see the grass growing, but it does.
But it's not really very "near" is it?
What happened right about then was the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty. That effectively cut off space development, any possibility, forever. Gov’t won’t be doing space development, and that leaves nobody.
Grass growing? Is see it grow from day to day. What I don’t see is it turning into a tree. And I don’t see it getting tough enough through mutation to withstand my lawnmower. :)