Latest Erg Stories

2007-01-03 18:55:00

Scientists report definitive evidence of the presence of lakes filled with liquid methane on Saturn's moon Titan in this week's journal Nature cover story. Radar imaging data from a July 22, 2006, flyby provide convincing evidence for large bodies of liquid on Titan today. A new false-color radar view gives a taste of what Cassini saw. Some highlights of the article follow below. Lake Characteristics: -Radar-dark patches are interpreted as lakes based on their very low radar reflectivity...

2006-09-02 09:35:00

Scientists knew Saturn's giant moon Titan would be interesting, perhaps containing organic compounds that are the building blocks of life. But the discovery of methane lakes and a "methanosphere" raises a question: is a frozen moon orbiting a giant gas planet Earth's closest analog in the solar system? NASA - Saturn's moon Titan seems to have little in common with Earth. At just 93 Kelvin, the giant moon is beyond ice cold, and its atmosphere is dominated by methane rather than nitrogen and...

2006-07-28 14:16:56

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It has methane rain and white crystalline sand dunes, and now scientists say Saturn's moon Titan also has many lakes. The lakes are probably made up of methane, with a little ethane mixed in, and they are probably the source of the obscuring smog in the frigid moon's atmosphere, researchers reported on Friday. "This is a big deal," said Steve Wall, deputy radar team leader at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "We've now seen a place...

2006-07-28 14:00:23

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has found lakes on Saturn's moon Titan. The lakes are most likely the source of hydrocarbon smog in the frigid moon's atmosphere. Finding the source of the complex soup of hydrocarbons in Titan's atmosphere has been a major goal for the Cassini mission and is a significant accomplishment. Numerous well-defined dark patches resembling lakes are present in radar images of Titan's high latitudes taken during a July 22 flyby. At Titan's frigid temperatures, about minus...

2006-05-04 19:35:00

Until a couple of years ago, scientists thought the dark equatorial regions of Titan might be liquid oceans. New radar evidence shows they are seas -- but seas of sand dunes like those in the Arabian or Namibian Deserts, a University of Arizona member of the Cassini radar team and colleagues report in Science (May 5). Radar images taken when the Cassini spacecraft flew by Titan last October show dunes 330 feet (100 meters) high that run parallel to each other for hundreds of miles at Titan's...

2005-12-06 07:24:40

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Recent evidence from the Huygens Probe of the Cassini Mission suggests that Titan, the largest moon orbiting Saturn, is a world where rivers of liquid methane sculpt channels in continents of ice. Surface images even show gravel-sized pieces of water ice that resemble rounded stones lying in a dry riverbed on Earth. But with a surface temperature of minus 179 degrees Celsius and an atmospheric pressure 1 1/2 times that of Earth, could fluvial processes on Titan be anything...

2005-10-31 07:00:00

There is only one moon in our solar system that has clouds, Saturn's giant moon Titan. First discovered by a scientist using an earthbound telescope, the clouds were later confirmed by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, recently gave a public lecture, sponsored by the Planetary Society, about what scientists have learned about Titan from the Cassini-Huygens mission. In this, the second part in a four-part series, McKay talks about...

2005-09-08 18:50:00

SWRI -- Saturn's moon Titan has long been a place of interest to astrobiologists, primarily because of its apparent similarities to the early Earth at the time life first started. A thick atmosphere composed primarily of nitrogen and abundant organic molecules (the ingredients of life as we know it) are among the important similarities between these two otherwise dissimilar planetary bodies. Scientists have considered it very unlikely that Titan hosts life today, primarily because it is so...

2005-09-05 13:17:07

By Paul Hoskins DUBLIN (Reuters) - Future visitors to Mars in need of water may find large quantities stored away in sand dunes held together with ice, a leading geologist said on Monday. "I think I've discovered evidence for ice in sand dunes on Mars which could be used to produce fuel and help humans to survive on the planet," said Doctor Mary Bourke of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. While channels and ridges in the Martian landscape indicate that water once...

2005-06-30 07:43:10

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Global warming could drastically alter Africa's southern sand dune systems, spreading desert-like conditions and destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people before the end of the century, new research warns. Large parts of interior southern Africa stretching from northern South Africa to Angola, Zambia and beyond are made up of stabilized sand dunes. They are at least partially covered in vegetation and support a growing population of herders...

Word of the Day
  • A gigantic fictional humanoid alien god being described with a head resembling an octopus and dragon wings and claws, around whom an insane cult developed.
  • Pertaining to the mythos of Cthulhu and additional otherworldly beings created by H. P. Lovecraft or inspired by his writings and imitators.
This word was invented in 1926 by H.P. Lovecraft for his short story, 'The Call of Cthulhu.' 'Cthulhu' may be based on the word 'chthonic,' which in Greek mythology refers to the underworld.