Thursday, July 31, 2008

UA identifies ethane lake on Titan

An instrument on the Cassini spacecraft run by the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab has detected liquid ethane forming a 150-mile long lake on Saturn's moon Titan. The report is published today in Nature by UA scientist Robert Brown and his colleagues.

The UA press release says the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) aboard NASA's Cassini orbiter captured this detailed, partial view of Titan's Ontario Lacus at 5 microns wavelength from 1,100 kilometers away, or about 680 miles away, on Dec. 4, 2007. Only part of the lake is visible on Titan's sunlit side. What appears to be a 'beach' is seen in the lower right of the image, below the bright lake shoreline. [NASA/JPL/University of Arizona]

Bottom: Cassini's Imaging Science System took this image of Lacus Ontario in June 2005. [NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute]

Now, if there were only a way we could pump this back to Earth, it might solve a lot of our energy problems.

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