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NASA Space Science

NASA Picks Up Rainstorms On Titan 110

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-still-grill-outdoors-though dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "Rainy seasons aren't just a regular occurrence on Earth — they also happen on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The rain isn't water, it's methane. And the seasons are years long, as Titan takes two weeks to go around Saturn and Saturn takes 29 years to complete one circuit of the Sun. Recent images from the Cassini probe, which is currently orbiting Saturn, show clouds forming in Titan's atmosphere and evidence that liquid methane is soaking the surface."
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NASA Picks Up Rainstorms On Titan

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  • Re:Years long... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Monday March 21, 2011 @01:55AM (#35556704)

    Can someone explain to me how long these years are? I find the TFA confusing.

    Our years are calculated by the circuit of our own planet around the sun. So does this rainy weather last for literal earth years or are they talking about relative years? And then: Saturn yars or Titan years? And what would a Titan year be since it doesn't revolve around the sun directly.

    Yeah, I don't have a clue about astronomy ;).

    And the seasons are years long, as Titan takes two weeks to go around Saturn and Saturn takes 29 years to complete one circuit of the Sun.

    Obviously we're talking about Earth years, because Saturn revolving once around the sun cannot possibly take 29 Saturn years as that would completely contradict the definition of the word "year".

  • by pablo_max (626328) on Monday March 21, 2011 @03:52AM (#35557092)

    Why do people always say that there is no practical reason for space exploration? I just don't get it.
    Titan is a wonderful example. A planet with literally 100's of times more hydrocarbons than Earth. That seems like a reasonable excuse to go there and develop mining and extraction techniques.
    You can get never get to the point where space exploitation makes sense unless you start.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday March 21, 2011 @04:06AM (#35557128) Homepage Journal

    GP didn't say they had to go to Earth. Those gasses would go a long way on Mars or Luna.

    (See Imperial Earth by Arthur C Clarke for a good book on the subject)

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