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2005-05-25 07:50:00

How old is Titan's surface? For years, Saturn's moon Titan was thought to have mastered the cosmetic surgery of the cosmos, with barely a mark or wrinkle to betray its true age. Close-up views provided by Cassini instruments show that Titan is nearly as flawless as it seems from a distance, with only two impact craters found so far. A world with a more youthful surface may be more likely to harbor life. Astrobiology Magazine -- Thanks to a thick veil of orange smog, the surface of Titan has...

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2005-05-01 19:25:00

UPI -- During its closest flyby of Titan on April 16, NASA's Cassini spacecraft detected some surprisingly complex organic molecules floating in its upper atmosphere. Specifically, the spacecraft's mass spectrometer picked up the presence of a variety of hydrocarbons, including ethane and even octane. The giant moon Titan orbits Saturn some 800 million miles away from the sun. It is so cold -- hundreds of degrees below zero, both Fahrenheit and Celsius -- it might harbor dark seas of liquid...

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2005-03-09 12:45:00

NASA -- Saturn's largest and hazy moon, Titan, has a surface shaped largely by Earth-like processes of tectonics, erosion, winds, and perhaps volcanism. The findings are published in this week's issue of the journal Nature. Titan, long held to be a frozen analog of early Earth, has liquid methane on its cold surface, unlike the water found on our home planet. Among the new discoveries is what may be a long river, roughly 1,500 kilometers long (930 miles). Scientists have also concluded...

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2005-03-08 07:45:00

Jonathan Lunine, a professor of planetary science and physics at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona, is also an interdisciplinary scientist on the Cassini/Huygens mission. Lunine presented a lecture entitled "Titan: A Personal View after Cassini's first six months in Saturn orbit" at a NASA Astrobiology Director's Seminar on January 24, 2005. This edited transcript of the Director's Seminar is Part 1 of a 4-part series. Astrobiology Magazine --...

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2005-02-20 10:45:00

Arizona -- Cassini-Huygens supplied new evidence about why Titan has an atmosphere, making it unique among all solar system moons, a University of Arizona planetary scientist says. Scientists can infer from Cassini-Huygens results that Titan has ammonia, said Jonathan I. Lunine, an interdisciplinary scientist for the European Space Agency\'s Huygens probe that landed on Titan last month. "I think what\'s clear from the data is that Titan has accreted or acquired significant amounts of...

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2005-01-25 07:53:04

As part of the Cassini Imaging team studying the atmosphere on Saturn, NASA's Anthony Del Genio explained in this part of his interview, how to make sense of a moon potentially making methane rain. Astrobiology Magazine -- Since the remarkable landing of the Huygens probe on the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, the community of planetary scientists has wondered anew about the discovery prospects in our own solar system. As part of the Cassini Imaging team studying the atmosphere on...

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2005-01-21 07:05:00

ESA -- On January 14, ESA's Huygens probe made an historic first ever descent to the surface of Titan, 1.2 billion kilometers from Earth and the largest of Saturn's moons. Huygens traveled to Titan as part of the joint ESA/NASA/ASI Cassini-Huygens mission. Starting at about 150 kilometres altitude, six multi-function instruments on board Huygens recorded data during the descent and on the surface. The first scientific assessments of Huygens' data were presented during a press conference at...

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2004-11-27 12:41:42

Billions of dollars are pumped into extraterrestrial exploration each year in the search for the ultimate prize - the discovery of life on other planets. But are we looking in all the right places? Prof Steven A Benner, who is working with NASA on the design of the next generation of Mars probes, believes that life could flourish without any need for water. In the December issue of Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, he and his colleagues at the University of Florida describe how organisms...


Word of the Day
tessitura
  • The prevailing range of a vocal or instrumental part, within which most of the tones lie.
This word is Italian in origin and comes from the Latin 'textura,' web, structure.