Nice, Long River Found On Titan

Posted: December 12th, 2012 in astronomy, NASA, Saturn, science, space
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Hey, get a load of this…

Titan's Nile (full)

From Wired

Vast Alien River System Spotted on Saturn’s Moon Titan

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has spotted a river system stretching more than 200 miles on Saturn’s moon Titan.

Though it isn’t the Nile — which is more than 20 times as long — the mighty river provides further evidence that this odd little moon is a wet world not unlike our own. Many lakes and small rivers have been found already on Titan but the newly discovered stream is the largest yet and represents the first time scientists have seen such a vast liquid system on any world other than Earth.

Titan’s mini-Nile doesn’t flow with water, which freezes to be hard as stone on the moon, but rather liquid hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane, which are stable in the moon’s -290 degree Fahrenheit average temperatures. From its headwaters, the flow follows a fault line and runs into the Kraken Mare, one of three gigantic seas that cover Titan’s northern hemisphere. Titan’s liquid cycle also includes seasonal downpours, which have been spotted from orbit. Whether all this liquid improves the chances for life on Titan remains an open mystery.

The enormous image above was acquired on Sept. 26 but only released on Dec. 12.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI

The Saturnian system has always excited me. It is seriously cool… and seriously exotic. A treasure trove of anomalies. I have long said that the farther out you go, the stranger and weirder things get; and I am pleased to report that this observation has yet to disappoint me.

Okay, so this river isn’t exactly weird, being, well, a river, but it’s nice and long and actually is pretty exotic as outlined above and I, for one, am more than willing to speculate that there are a wide variety of critters living in and around those currents. And eddies! I love eddies. Sorry.

Not to go too off-topic, but you can probably guess that I really, truly like the fact that the ocean this river feeds is called the Kraken Mare. WAAAH!
I am hoping with all my heart that naming it that proves to be the very definition of “foresight!”

I’d say this calls for at least a rover. Better yet, how about a sub to go with it!

Edit to add that the Kraken Mare is five times bigger than Lake Superior!

Peace.

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