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Rescooped by Kyle Davies from Amazing Science
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'Waves' on Titan’s lakes: First liquid wave detection on the surface of another world

'Waves' on Titan’s lakes: First liquid wave detection on the surface of another world | Physics | Scoop.it
Scientists believe they have detected the first liquid waves on the surface of another world. The signature of isolated ripples was observed in a sea called Punga Mare on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. However, these seas are filled not with water, but with hydrocarbons like methane and ethane. These exist in their liquid state on Titan, where the surface temperature averages about -180C.Planetary scientist Jason Barnes discussed details of his findings at the 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in Texas this week. Titan is a strange, looking-glass version of Earth with a substantial atmosphere and a seasonal cycle. Wind and rain shape the surface to form river channels, seas, dunes and shorelines.But much of what's familiar is also turned sideways: the moon's mountains and dune fields are made of ice, rather than rock or sand, and liquid hydrocarbons take up many of the roles played by water on Earth. The vast majority of Titan's lakes and seas are concentrated around the north polar region. Just one of these bodies of liquid - Ligeia Mare - is estimated to contain about 9,000 cubic km of mostly liquid methane, equating to about 40 times the proven reserves of oil and gas on Earth.Dr Barnes, from the University of Idaho in Moscow, US, used a mathematical model to investigate whether the features in the image were compatible with waves. "We think we've found the first waves outside the Earth," he told the meeting."What we're seeing seems to be consistent with waves at just a few locations in Punga Mare [with a slope] of six degrees." He said other possibilities, such as a wet mudflat, could not be ruled out.But assuming these were indeed waves, Dr Barnes calculates that a wind speed of around 0.75 m/s is required to produce ripples with the requisite slope of six degrees. That points to the waves being just 2cm high. "Don't make your surfing vacation reservations for Titan just yet," Dr Barnes quipped.However, Titan appears to be on the brink of major seasonal changes, which present important opportunities for scientists to gain a better understanding of this complex and endlessly surprising world.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Rescooped by Kyle Davies from Science, Space, and news from 'out there'
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China is Going to the Moon - The Reason Why NASA is Worried

China is Going to the Moon - The Reason Why NASA is Worried | Physics | Scoop.it
According to a recent PolicyMic story, "China is in the 'final stages' of preparation for its Chang'e 3 moon lander, which will lift off via a Long March 3B rocket in early December.The ambitious probe will orbit the moon before propelling down to the surface and unleashing a solar-powered moon rover to explore the lunar surface." [1]This news has worried NASA...
Via Sepp Hasslberger
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