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Cassini Spacecraft Finds Ocean May Exist Beneath Titan
saturndaily.com ^ | 21 Mar 2008 | staff

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.

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TOPICS: Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cassini; huygens; nasa; saturn; titan; water
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Some day Titan will be used as material source for space development
1 posted on 03/22/2008 8:40:07 AM PDT by RightWhale
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To: RightWhale

Ever notice that everything they find is always never seen?


2 posted on 03/22/2008 8:46:02 AM PDT by edcoil (Go Great in 08 ... Slide into 09)
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To: edcoil

No. There’s a ton that’s been found that has been seen.


3 posted on 03/22/2008 8:47:08 AM PDT by Psycho_Bunny
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To: edcoil

Of course. That is because if it were visible it would already have been found.


4 posted on 03/22/2008 8:48:34 AM PDT by RightWhale (Clam down! avoid ataque de nervosa)
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To: edcoil
Ever notice that everything they find is always never seen?

I've never seen my bones, but they've been found using X-rays and film.

5 posted on 03/22/2008 8:50:42 AM PDT by Digital Sniper (Hello, "Undocumented Immigrant." I'm an "Undocumented Border Patrol Agent.")
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To: RightWhale

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?


6 posted on 03/22/2008 8:51:18 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: kjam22

Ammonia would be an excellent source of nitrogen for fertilizer when they get around to farming Mars.


7 posted on 03/22/2008 8:54:12 AM PDT by RightWhale (Clam down! avoid ataque de nervosa)
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To: Digital Sniper

..sort of like justice, I want to believe in it, but I’ve never seen it.


8 posted on 03/22/2008 8:54:44 AM PDT by norraad ("What light!">Blues Brothers)
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To: RightWhale

http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/320/3


9 posted on 03/22/2008 8:56:05 AM PDT by #1CTYankee (That's right, I have no proof. So what of it??)
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To: RightWhale
The problem with farming mars is that costs a whole lot of money. We think it's difficult just trying to match cheap labor in china.

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.

10 posted on 03/22/2008 8:57:34 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: RightWhale
Cassini Spacecraft Finds Ocean May Exist Beneath Titan
Or maybe not. But that won't stop NASA from asking for more trillions of taxpayers dollars. What folly.

11 posted on 03/22/2008 9:00:13 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: RightWhale

Did they find any dinosaur bones on Titan? All those fossil fuels there had to come from somewhere...


12 posted on 03/22/2008 9:01:27 AM PDT by stefanbatory
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To: oh8eleven

Yep... I agree with you.


13 posted on 03/22/2008 9:02:50 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: Digital Sniper

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.


14 posted on 03/22/2008 9:03:00 AM PDT by patton (cuiquam in sua arte credendum)
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To: kjam22

Happy World Water Day


15 posted on 03/22/2008 9:04:04 AM PDT by RightWhale (Clam down! avoid ataque de nervosa)
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To: RightWhale

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 :)


16 posted on 03/22/2008 9:06:19 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: RightWhale
September 14th 2041.

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.

17 posted on 03/22/2008 9:07:39 AM PDT by BigCinBigD (")
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To: kjam22
evolutionists are going to need to explain why there isn’t

That will require some study. Say about 5 years and $1 billion.

18 posted on 03/22/2008 9:08:35 AM PDT by RightWhale (Clam down! avoid ataque de nervosa)
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To: RightWhale

:)


19 posted on 03/22/2008 9:09:12 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: patton
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.

Makes my femur hurt just thinkin' about it.

20 posted on 03/22/2008 9:11:56 AM PDT by Digital Sniper (Hello, "Undocumented Immigrant." I'm an "Undocumented Border Patrol Agent.")
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To: kjam22

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.


21 posted on 03/22/2008 9:15:02 AM PDT by Onerom99
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To: oh8eleven

The NASA budget in 2007 was .5% of the total Federal budget. And only a fraction of that was for unmanned exploration.


22 posted on 03/22/2008 9:15:39 AM PDT by Strategerist
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To: edcoil
Ever notice that everything they find is always never seen?

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.

23 posted on 03/22/2008 9:16:06 AM PDT by ElkGroveDan (When you choose the lesser of two evils, you still have evil.)
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To: Digital Sniper

You have seen others - ever have a compound fracture?


24 posted on 03/22/2008 9:20:15 AM PDT by edcoil (Go Great in 08 ... Slide into 09)
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To: Onerom99
So your argument is that the water there is newer than it is here? Why is it a powerball longshot?

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.

25 posted on 03/22/2008 9:21:15 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: kjam22
So there’s water there..... why isn’t there an advanced civilization? Isn’t that all it takes for life to spring up and then mutate to advanced civilizations?

You also need a relatively temperate climate. It's much too cold on Titan, average just above absolute zero.
26 posted on 03/22/2008 9:21:48 AM PDT by Signalman
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To: ElkGroveDan

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.


27 posted on 03/22/2008 9:22:43 AM PDT by edcoil (Go Great in 08 ... Slide into 09)
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To: Bobkk47

Not according to evolution through mutation. Life should have developed from that water that was capable of withstanding its environment.


28 posted on 03/22/2008 9:23:21 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: kjam22

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.


29 posted on 03/22/2008 9:30:01 AM PDT by Onerom99
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To: oh8eleven

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.


30 posted on 03/22/2008 9:30:46 AM PDT by nuke rocketeer (File CONGRESS.SYS corrupted: Re-boot Washington D.C (Y/N)?)
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To: Onerom99

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?


31 posted on 03/22/2008 9:31:14 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: edcoil
It is only an assumption water is causing any shifting. Being a different planet, we have no idea what could cause it.

They do have an idea what might be causing it.........water.

32 posted on 03/22/2008 9:32:38 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (If America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: kjam22

You’re too dense to understand this.


33 posted on 03/22/2008 9:33:45 AM PDT by Onerom99
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To: Onerom99
My guess is that there is some micro aquatic life there

It better get busy mutating if it ever wants to amount to anything.....

34 posted on 03/22/2008 9:35:06 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: kjam22

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.


35 posted on 03/22/2008 9:35:36 AM PDT by nuke rocketeer (File CONGRESS.SYS corrupted: Re-boot Washington D.C (Y/N)?)
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To: edcoil
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.

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?

36 posted on 03/22/2008 9:36:04 AM PDT by ElkGroveDan (When you choose the lesser of two evils, you still have evil.)
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To: Onerom99
I may be dense but I'm not stupid enough to buy what evolutionists are selling. I'd guess there is water all over the universe. But no advanced life forms. Oh no..... that just happened here on earth (by chance). It just mutated by itself here on earth only.

Everytime we find water on other planets without advanced life form we demonstrated that the evolutionists theories don't prove out.

37 posted on 03/22/2008 9:37:51 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: edcoil

No, but this assumption is based upon the data indicating that the major surface component of Titan is water ice.


38 posted on 03/22/2008 9:38:27 AM PDT by nuke rocketeer (File CONGRESS.SYS corrupted: Re-boot Washington D.C (Y/N)?)
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To: nuke rocketeer

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.


39 posted on 03/22/2008 9:39:31 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: oh8eleven
Luddite.

"We don't need to explore nothin. I done lived in my town all my life 'n I don't need nothin' what ain't here."
Yes I see you are one of the enlightened people.
40 posted on 03/22/2008 9:40:00 AM PDT by Sudetenland (I (heart) "Big Oil!")
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To: kjam22
The problem with farming mars is that costs a whole lot of money. We think it's difficult just trying to match cheap labor in china.

Any form of colonization is going to depend on local resources. The resource that is easiest to ship is human knowledge.

41 posted on 03/22/2008 9:40:16 AM PDT by BlazingArizona
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To: Strategerist
As a kid, no one was more interested in the space program that I was. I even cut school to watch the rocket launches. But that was 40 years ago.
Today, the NASA budget is around $10 BILLION a year and has been for quite some time. That's not chump change, but more importantly, where's the return for that investment over the last 30 years?
Nothing personal, but if you want to know if there's water on Triton, find others of like mind and fund it yourselves.
42 posted on 03/22/2008 9:41:14 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: Strategerist

They don’t care. For people like them ignorance is bliss.


43 posted on 03/22/2008 9:41:40 AM PDT by Sudetenland (I (heart) "Big Oil!")
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To: kjam22

terradaily.com

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.”


Not just increasing complexity but parallel direction. Proof of something or other.


44 posted on 03/22/2008 9:44:41 AM PDT by RightWhale (Clam down! avoid ataque de nervosa)
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To: Sudetenland
Facts is facts and theory is theory. We see pictures of of planets with obviious "watermarks" on them. But there's not advanced life.... or evidence that there ever was. And as far as we know...... we're on the only planet in the entire universe where life sprang up from nothing. Isn't that the bottom line?

Sorry if we don't all just jump out there and believe what some want to articulate as a "logical" explanation.

45 posted on 03/22/2008 9:45:39 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: kjam22

You don’t see the grass growing, but it does.


46 posted on 03/22/2008 9:46:46 AM PDT by Sudetenland (I (heart) "Big Oil!")
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To: RightWhale
nearest thing to a pervasive evolutionary rule that’s been found.”

But it's not really very "near" is it?

47 posted on 03/22/2008 9:47:12 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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To: nuke rocketeer
Money spent on exploration and research is money well spent.
BS. There's nothing out there - that's why they call it SPACE.
48 posted on 03/22/2008 9:47:38 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: oh8eleven

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.


49 posted on 03/22/2008 9:47:59 AM PDT by RightWhale (Clam down! avoid ataque de nervosa)
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To: Sudetenland

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. :)


50 posted on 03/22/2008 9:48:31 AM PDT by kjam22 (see me play the guitar here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHy7Cuoucc)
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