Subscribe
Subscribe
MY AMERICAN SCIENTIST
LOG IN! REGISTER!
SEARCH
 
Logo IMG
HOME > MULTIMEDIA > Multimedia Detail

SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

Tropical Lakes on Saturn Moon Could Expand Options for Life

from Nature News

Nestling among the dunes in the dry equatorial region of Saturn's moon Titan is what appears to be a hydrocarbon lake. The observation, by the Cassini spacecraft, suggests that oases of liquid methane -- which might be a crucible for life -- lie beneath the moon's surface. The work is published today in Nature.

Besides Earth, Titan is the only object in the Solar System to circulate liquids in a cycle of rain and evaporation, although on Titan the process is driven by methane rather than water.

This cycle is expected to form liquid bodies near the moon's poles, but not at its dune-covered equator, where Cassini measurements show that humidity levels are low and little rain falls to the surface. "The equatorial belt is like a desert on Earth, where evaporation trumps precipitation," says astrobiologist Jonathan Lunine of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Any surface liquid there should evaporate and be transported to the cooler poles, where it should condense as rain. "Lakes at the poles are easy to explain, but lakes in the tropics are not," says Caitlin Griffith, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Indeed, Cassini has spotted hundreds of lakes and three seas in Titan's polar regions.

Read more...



comments powered by Disqus
 

Connect With Us:

Facebook Icon Sm Twitter Icon Google+ Icon Pinterest Icon RSS Feed Instagram Icon

Latest Multimedia

2015-08WyskMMClick to Enlarge Image

PODCAST & VIDEO: 3D Printing Replacement Body Parts

Regenerative medicine, a fledgling field with the aim of regrowing parts from a person’s own cells, is being amplified with 3D-printing technology, which can now use organic materials to create scaffolds that cells need to grow into their final forms. Richard Wysk, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University, discusses the latest successes with this research, and the timeline for creating more complicated structures.

To view all multimedia content, click "Latest Multimedia."



RSS Feed Subscription

Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.


EMAIL TO A FRIEND :

Of Possible Interest

Science in the News Weekly: NASA May Inherit Ex-Spy Telescope

Science in the News Weekly: Science at the Top of the News for May 29-June 1

Science in the News Weekly: Kepler Telescope Studies Superflares

Subscribe to American Scientist