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Titan

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Abraxas
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2007, 01:28:40 pm »



NASA image comparing a body of liquid on Titan with Lake Superior.
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Abraxas
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« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2007, 01:33:25 pm »



Image of Titan taken during Huygens' descent, showing hills and topographical features that resemble a shoreline and drainage channels.
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Abraxas
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« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2007, 01:34:46 pm »



A view of Titan centered on the large lake-like feature in Titan's north polar region, which lies just below the day-night line in this image.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_%28moon%29
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« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2007, 01:20:06 am »

Impact craters

Radar SAR and imaging data from Cassini have revealed a relative paucity of impact craters on Titan's surface, suggesting a youthful surface. To date, only three impact craters have been confirmed, which includes a 440 km wide multi-ring impact basin named Menrva (seen by Cassini's ISS as a bright-dark concentric pattern),[38] a smaller 80 km wide flat-floored crater named Sinlap,[39] and a 30 km crater with a central peak and dark floor named Ksa.[40] RADAR and Cassini imaging have also revealed a number of "crateriforms", circular features on the surface of Titan that may be impact related, but lack certain features that would make identification certain. For example, a 90 km wide ring of bright, rough material known as Guabonito has been observed by Cassini.[41] This feature is thought to be an impact crater filled-in by dark, windblown sediment. Several other similar features have been observed in the dark Shangri-la and Aaru regions. RADAR observed several circular features that may be craters in the bright region Xanadu during Cassini's April 30, 2006 flyby of Titan.
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« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2007, 01:21:08 am »



One of the first radar images of Titan's complex surface. The circular feature at left, Ganesa Macula, is thought to be a cryovolcanic dome.
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Abraxas
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« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2007, 01:22:21 am »

Cryovolcanism

Scientists have speculated that conditions on Titan resemble those of early Earth, though at a much lower temperature. Evidence of volcanic activity from the latest Cassini mission suggests that temperatures are probably much higher in hotbeds, enough for liquid water to exist. Argon 40 detection in the atmosphere indicates that volcanoes spew plumes of water and ammonia.

Mountains

A mountain range measuring 150 km (93 miles) long, 30 km (19 miles) wide and 1.5 km (1 mile) high was discovered by Cassini in 2006. This range lies in the southern hemisphere and is thought to be composed of icy material and covered in methane snow. The movement of tectonic plates, perhaps influenced by a nearby impact basin, could have opened a gap that the mountain's material upwelled through
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« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2007, 01:23:21 am »

Dark terrain

In the first images of Titan's surface taken by Earth-based telescopes in the early 2000s, large regions of dark terrain were revealed straddling Titan's equator.[45] Prior to the arrival of Cassini, these regions were thought to be seas of organic matter like tar or seas of liquid hydrocarbons.[46] However, radar images captured by the Cassini spacecraft has instead revealed some of these regions to be extensive plains covered in longitudinal sand dunes. The sand dunes are believed to be formed by wind generated as a result of tidal forces from Saturn on Titan's atmosphere, which are 400 times stronger than the tidal forces of the Moon on Earth. The tidal winds cause dunes to build up in long parallel lines, with Titan's zonal winds aligning the dunes west-to-east. The dunes break this pattern around mountains, where the wind direction is shifted.

Widespread evidence has also recently been found to support the claim that lakes of hydrocarbons do in fact exist on Titan's North pole during the second of several planned Cassini spacecraft flybys.[47]

The sand on Titan might have formed when liquid methane rained and eroded the ice bedrock, possibly in the form of flash floods. Alternatively, the sand could also have come from organic solids produced by photochemical reactions in Titan's atmosphere.
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« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2007, 01:24:18 am »



Titan's sand dunes (below), compared with dunes on Earth's surface (above)
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« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2007, 01:25:41 am »



Huygens image from Titan's surface
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« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2007, 01:26:49 am »

Huygens landing site

The Huygens probe landed just off the easternmost tip of a bright region now called Adiri, and photographed pale hills with dark 'rivers' running down to a dark plain. Current understanding is that the hills (also referred to as highlands) are composed mainly of water ice. Dark organic compounds, created in the upper atmosphere by the ultraviolet radiation of the Sun, may rain from Titan's atmosphere. They are washed down the hills with the methane rain and are deposited on the plains over geological time scales.[51]

Huygens landed on a dark plain covered in small rocks and pebbles, which are composed of water ice.[51] The two rocks just below the middle of the image on the right are smaller than they may appear. The left-hand one is 15 centimeters (6 inches) across, and the one in the center is 4 centimeters (about 1.5 inches) across, at a distance of about 85 centimeters (about 33 inches) from Huygens. There is evidence of erosion at the base of the rocks, indicating possible fluvial activity. The surface is darker than originally expected, consisting of a mixture of water and hydrocarbon ice. It is believed that the 'soil' visible in the images is precipitation from the hydrocarbon haze above.

In march of 2007, NASA, ESA, and COSPAR decided to name the Huygens landing site as Hubert Curiel Memorial Station in memory of a president of the European Space Agency
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« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2007, 01:28:15 am »



Cassini image of Epimetheus and Titan
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« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2007, 01:28:59 am »

Exploration of Titan

Titan was examined by both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, with Voyager 1's course being diverted specifically to make a closer pass of Titan. Unfortunately Voyager 1 did not possess any instruments that could penetrate Titan's haze, an unforeseen factor. Many years later, intensive digital processing of images taken through Voyager 1's orange filter did reveal hints of the light and dark features now known as Xanadu and the Sickle,[52] but by then they had already been observed in the infrared by the Hubble Space Telescope. Voyager 2 took only a cursory look at Titan. The Voyager 2 team had the option of steering the spacecraft to take a detailed look at Titan or to use another trajectory which would allow it to visit Uranus and Neptune. Given the lack of surface features seen by Voyager 1, the latter plan was implemented. The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft reached Saturn on July 1, 2004 and has begun the process of mapping Titan's surface by radar; The Cassini probe flew by Titan on October 26, 2004[53] and took the highest-resolution images ever of the moon's surface, at only 1,200 kilometers,[53] discerning patches of light and dark that would be invisible to the human eye from the Earth. Huygens landed on Titan on January 14, 2005,[54] discovering that many of the moon's surface features seem to have been formed by flowing fluids at some point in the past. Present liquid on the surface may be found near the north pole, in the form of many lakes that were recently discovered by Cassini.
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« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2007, 01:29:52 am »

Life on Titan

Scientists believe that the atmosphere of early Earth was similar in composition to the current atmosphere on Titan. Many hypotheses have developed that attempt to bridge the step from chemical to biological evolution. The Miller-Urey experiment and several following experiments have shown that with an atmosphere similar to that of Titan and the addition of UV radiation, complex molecules and polymer substances like tholins can be generated. The reaction starts with dissociation of nitrogen and methane forming hydrocyan and ethyne. Further reactions have been studied extensively.

All of these experiments have led to the suggestion that enough organic material exists on Titan to start a chemical evolution analogous to what is thought to have started life on Earth. While the analogy assumes the presence of liquid water for longer periods than is currently observable, several theories suggest that liquid water from an impact could be preserved under a frozen isolation layer.[56] It has also been suggested that liquid ammonia oceans could exist deep below the surface.[57] Furthermore, Titan's distance from the Sun and the anti-greenhouse effect of its cloud cover, as well as the absence of CO2, would further limit the option for a fully analogous environment. With these many obstacles, the topic of life on Titan may best be described as a thought experiment for examining theories for life's origin on Earth.[58] In other words, if life were able to develop on Titan, it would provide a mirror for examining the evolution of life on Earth. This line of reasoning has been challenged, however, by an alternate explanation for life's hypothetical existence on Titan. It has been proposed that, if life were to be found on Titan, that it would be statistically more likely to have originated from Earth than to have appeared independently. Research conducted by Brett Gladman of the University of British Columbia theorizes that large asteroid and cometary impacts on Earth's surface have caused hundreds of millions of fragments of microbe-laden rock to escape Earth's gravity. Further calculations indicate that a number of these would encounter many of the bodies in the solar system, including Titan.[59][60]

While the Cassini-Huygens mission was not equipped to provide evidence for biology or complex organics, it did support the existence of an environment on Titan that is similar, in some ways, to that of the primordial Earth. However, at this time future missions and experiments are not currently being planned to research the question. Considering the time required for executing such a voyage, further scientific data would be decades away
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« Reply #28 on: June 21, 2007, 01:32:43 am »



Artistic representation of a view from the surface of Titan, with dune fields, lakes, channels and Saturn in the background.
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« Reply #29 on: June 21, 2007, 01:36:40 am »

Titan in fiction
Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. It has a substantial atmosphere and is the most Earth-like satellite in the Solar System, making it a popular science fiction setting.
   
Literature
 
 
   Flight on Titan (1935), short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum. A couple from Earth struggles through the frigid, windswept Titanian landscape.
   Sojarr of Titan (1941), novel by Manly Wade Wellman.
   The Puppet Masters (1951) by Robert A. Heinlein. Titan is the home of an elf-like species, which has been enslaved by parasitic aliens who can control them. These "puppet masters" attempt to take over the Earth by controlling human beings, who counter-attack with the intention of emancipating the "elves".
   The Rolling Stones (1952), novel by Robert A. Heinlein. The family Stone heads for Titan Base, colony.
   Trouble on Titan (1954), novel by Alan E. Nourse.
   Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn (1958), novel by Isaac Asimov. Humans from the Sirius system establish a settlement on Titan.
   The Sirens of Titan (1959), novel by Kurt Vonnegut. Features a journey that climaxes on Titan.
   The Game-Players of Titan (1963), novel by Philip K. Dick. A neurotic and suicidal man named Pete Garden must roll a three in Bluff, the game that's become a blinding obsession for the last inhabitants of post-apocalyptic Earth, against opponents who are from Titan.
   Perry Rhodan (1960s), German pulp science fiction series. Titan has a prison and advanced medical facilities.
   Imperial Earth (1976), novel by Arthur C. Clarke. Titan is home to a human colony with a population of 250,000 and provides an important role in the Solar System's economics; Titan's atmosphere supplies the hydrogen needed to support interplanetary travel.
   Eyes of Amber (1977), novelette by Joan D. Vinge. Titan is the home of extraterrestrial intelligence.
   Titan (1979), novel by John Varley science fiction novel. An expedition to explore the moons of Saturn is captured by a giant, intelligent super-organism. Sequels include Wizard (1980) and Demon (1984) (Gaea trilogy).
   Code of the Lifemaker (1983), novel by James P. Hogan. Titan is inhabited by a race of Clanking Replicators
   Fiasco (1986), novel by Stanisław Lem. The first several chapters are set on Titan, with a character ending up frozen on the surface for several hundred years.
   Saturnalia (1986), novel by Grant Callin. Titan is one of the locations of an alien artifact. A fictional volcano, Mons Gargantua is described in the book as being so large as to even dwarf Olympus Mons.
   Mars trilogy (1996) by Kim Stanley Robinson. Nitrogen from Titan is used in the Terraforming of Mars.
   Titan (1997), novel by Stephen Baxter. A NASA mission to Titan must struggle to survive after a disastrous landing. Contains vivid depictions of a journey through the Saturnian system.
   The Clouds of Saturn (2000), novel by Michael McCollum. Titan is the homeworld of Envon and Kimber Crawford, and Arvin Taggart.
   Justice Squad (2005), web serial. Titan becomes home to the remnants of the extraterrestrial Xrax people.
   Titan (2006), novel by Ben Bova. Part of the Grand Tour series.
Film and television
   "The Glowing Eggs of Titan" (1962), episode Space Patrol TV series. Husky's discovery of a luminous egg of the Saturnian moon of Titan could prove to be the solution of the Martian energy crisis.
   The Invisible Enemy (1977), a Doctor Who serial. Takes place partly on a manned base on Titan.
   Creature 1985, horror film. Titan is where ancient aliens preserved dormant creatures from all over the galaxy.
   Red Dwarf (1988), BBC TV series. The character Lister illegally imports a cat from Titan that, through the action of hard radiation over millions of years, becomes the progenitor of a well-dressed, but not particularly intelligent species called Felis sapiens. In the first series Lister also often sings a song mentioning Titan, as well as Ganymede.
   "Chain of Command" (1992), Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. Titan's Turn is a daring spacecraft maneuver around Titan, often carried out by pilots flying between Jupiter and Saturn.
   Gattaca (1997), film. Titan is the goal for a manned space mission, which is seen lifting off in the final sequence.
   Starhunter (2001), TV series. Titan features prominently as the former home of the character Dante, and is the site of a large colony.
[edit] Comics and anime
   Judge Dredd, part of the 2000 AD comic series. Titan is used as a penal colony, but, due to a writer's error, is placed in orbit around Jupiter. This was later explained as being due to a scientific experiment in teleportation.[citation needed]
   Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers) (1974). The Yamato crew land on Titan to mine "titanite", a mineral necessary for energy transmission units.
   "The God Gambit" (1985), episode of Transformers animated cartoon. Titan is home to a primitive civilization of humanoids who worship Transformers as gods.
   "Money is Everything" (1986), episode of Transformers animated cartoon. In the year 2006, Titan has been terraformed by humans.
   Cowboy Bebop (1998), anime. Titan was the site of a war over hydrocarbon extraction in the year 2068. It is unclear whether there was a colony on the moon.
   Chi-Chian comics, animated series, and roleplaying game by Voltaire. The albino character Nahm flees from her oppressive childhood on Titan, which is home to a colony of bigoted genetic purists.
   Aim for the Top 2! (2004), anime. Titan is the location of the Titan Variable Gravity Well. A living habitat exists on Titan to house the team attempting to extract the artifact as well featuring plush facilities for visiting members of **** and their Buster Machines.
   In the Marvel Comics Universe, Titan is home to a colony of Eternals, a godlike race of men and women, and also spawned the super villain Thanos, and the final resting place of Mar-vell
   In the DC Comics Universe, Titan is home to a race of telepaths. Depending on what part of the continuity you are reading, they may have been seeded there in the late 20th century as a colony by Lar Gand (variously known as Mon-El, Valor and M'Onel). The most prominent example of a DC hero from Titan is Saturn Girl, a founding member of the 30th Century Legion of Super Heroes.
Games
   An Apple II game called Titan Empire had human inhabitants of this moon attempting to take over the solar system.
   In the table-top science fiction game Warhammer 40,000, the Grey Knights Space Marines chapter keep their Fortress-Monastery on Titan.
   In the Commodore 64 computer game Project Firestart, the setting of the story is located on a scientific space vessel which is floating near Titan in the Saturn system.
   In the Activision game Battlezone (1998), Titan is the site of a Soviet base and several battles between the American, Soviet, and "Fury" forces.
   The game Flashback (1992) takes place mostly on Titan.
   Gremlin Interactive's game Hardwar (1998) takes place in a fictionalized city called Misplaced Optimism, which is on Titan.
   Level 15 of Descent (1994), as well as its second sequel, Descent 3 (2000), take place on Titan. In Descent the player is in a mine, while in Descent 3 the player travels to a proving ground.
   In Starlancer, Titan is the site of a major, decisive battle between Alliance and Coalition forces.
   In the Playstation game Colony Wars, Titan is the base of a Navy supergun. The League destroy Titan in the process of eradicating the weapon.
   Titan serves as the final level of the game Solar Eclipse for the Sega Saturn. It is the central front for the LaGrange Mining Operation, which is spread out over Saturn's seven largest moons and controlled by the AI program "IRIS".
   The plot of Huygen's Disclosure, published in 1996 by SegaSoft, actually involves not only Titan, but the pending arrival of the Huygens probe. It did not depict Titan realistically.
   In the game Legacy of Time, third game in the Journeyman Project series, Titan is home to a prison colony.
   An Amiga adventure game Suspicious Cargo published by Gremlin.
   Originally released for the Commodore 64, and later rereleased for Windows, Mines of Titan is an RPG set in the 22nd Century where the player must assemble a team to determine the fate of the city of Proscenium, with which all contact as been lost.
   In the Brazilian strategic game Outlive, Titan is a unique moon rich in minerals and resources.
Music
   Titan is a song on Hammerfall's latest album, dealing with the quest to colonize Titan after a disaster on Earth.
   Sirens of Titan is a song on Al Stewart's album Modern Times, inspired by Kurt Vonnegut's nov

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