Quantcast
Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

Latest Erg Stories

Explaining Dune Field Patterns
2012-02-08 05:04:26

In a study of the harsh but beautiful White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, University of Pennsylvania researchers have uncovered a unifying mechanism to explain dune patterns. The new work represents a contribution to basic science, but the findings may also hold implications for identifying when dune landscapes like those in Nebraska´s Sand Hills may reach a “tipping point” under climate change, going from valuable grazing land to barren desert. The study was...

Computer Model Explains Lakes, Storms On Titan
2012-01-05 09:30:55

Researchers studying Saturn´s moon Titan -- a natural satellite roughly half of Earth´s diameter, with a thick atmosphere of methane and a surface temperature of nearly -300 degrees Fahrenheit and the only other body in our solar system that has large bodies of liquid on its surface -- have created a computer model of its atmosphere and methane cycle that, for the first time, explains how lakes and storms form and exist on the distant moon. The new model, created by researchers...

66643757238a5438331ad1eccd2445af1
2011-04-08 09:29:51

Have the surface and belly of Saturn's smog-shrouded moon, Titan, recently simmered like a chilly, bubbling cauldron with ice volcanoes, or has this distant moon gone cold? In a newly published analysis, a pair of NASA scientists analyzing data collected by the Cassini spacecraft suggest Titan may be much less geologically active than some scientists have thought. In the paper, published in the April 2011 edition of the journal Icarus, scientists conclude Titan's interior may be cool and...

cb14d11c1442ed4f46a709f58609df491
2010-09-22 08:50:00

Titan, one of Saturn's moons, is the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere "” ten times denser than the atmosphere of Earth. Five years ago, the Cassini"“Huygens mission to Saturn, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and NASA, sent a probe through Titan's atmosphere, revealing that Titan is home to a landscape that includes hills, valleys and most notably lakes. A researcher involved with the mission, Prof. Akiva Bar-Nun of Tel Aviv University's Department...

9e82b7ae93bc4557a73a2c3c181da2801
2010-08-13 07:56:14

Saturn's moon Titan ripples with mountains, and scientists have been trying to figure out how they form. The best explanation, it turns out, is that Titan is shrinking as it cools, wrinkling up the moon's surface like a raisin. A new model developed by scientists working with radar data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows that differing densities in the outermost layers of Titan can account for the unusual surface behavior. Titan is slowly cooling because it is releasing heat from its...

5c8285bff85c3d1be0fa5537545b2f591
2010-07-30 06:00:00

A new study finds that the mysterious equatorial dune patterns on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, are the result of gusty winds blowing in the opposite direction of prevailing weather. Titan's vast dunes of tiny organic, hydrocarbon particles cover more than one-fifth of its surface, but one band in particular has puzzled scientists for years. The band's shape suggested it was formed by winds flowing from west to east, despite climate models predicting that surface winds nearly always blow in...

568d07b6522f5d27df794b36c3d78d961
2010-06-03 15:27:36

Two new papers based on data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft scrutinize the complex chemical activity on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. While non-biological chemistry offers one possible explanation, some scientists believe these chemical signatures bolster the argument for a primitive, exotic form of life or precursor to life on Titan's surface. According to one theory put forth by astrobiologists, the signatures fulfill two important conditions necessary for a hypothesized...

a54a99bc23495270de9efb10d6dac1161
2009-08-27 12:26:20

U.S. scientists have developed an alternate theory for the origin of linear dunes on the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, similar to ones on Earth. Louisiana State University Professor Patrick Hesp and U.S. Geological Survey scientist David Rubin said they examined the linear -- or longitudinal -- dunes stretching across the surface of China's Qaidam Basin, finding them composed of sand and some salt and silt. The scientists said the latter two elements make the dunes cohesive or...

602c61ebbb964945eab70e2e3592d4e01
2009-08-25 14:15:00

A new and likely controversial paper has just been published online in Nature Geoscience by LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology Chair Patrick Hesp and United States Geological Survey scientist David Rubin. The paper, "Multiple origins of linear dunes on Earth and Titan," examines a possible new mechanism for the development of very large linear dunes formed on the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. The authors examined the linear "“ or longitudinal "“ dunes that...

624f9b6bde9b7536231d02c8d7c43501
2009-08-06 13:25:00

"It is really surprising how closely Titan's surface resembles Earth's," says Rosaly Lopes, a planetary geologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, who is presenting the results on Friday, 7 August. "In fact, Titan looks more like the Earth than any other body in the Solar System, despite the huge differences in temperature and other environmental conditions." The joint NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens mission has revealed details of Titan's geologically young...