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Space Science

The Swirling Vortex of Titan 45

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-a-life-jacket dept.
sighted writes "New images from the robotic spacecraft Cassini show the ongoing formation of a massive vortex in the atmosphere of Saturn's planet-sized moon Titan. (See also this animation.) The same moon has recently provided tantalizing hints of an underground ocean as well. Future missions, if any are ever funded, will have plenty to explore."
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The Swirling Vortex of Titan

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  • Maybe theres a trailer park there

  • with each discovery. Would that space exploration were the priority, we could have robots swarming the solar system, including permanent orbiters around the gas giants and landers on the ice worlds.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bandy (99800)
      Except Europa ... Attempt No Landings There.
      • by Stirling Newberry (848268) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @06:38PM (#40608325) Homepage Journal
        Sadly 2010 didn't arrive by 2010, though 1984 is half way here.
        • by bandy (99800)
          All the elements for the latter are in place, except for private ownership of printed material. However, if no-one reads them, then it really doesn't matter what they say. As to being about to get humans out of Terra's g-field...sigh. And Hard AI is so much harder than what anyone had imagined. And is much harder than what the Transhumanists and Singularists could possibly imagine.
      • Except Europa ... Attempt No Landings There.

        Why? What's there happening on Europa that there shouldn't be any attempts at landing there? What exactly is so Area 51 about Eu-ro-pa??? Too 'good' for the rest of the solar system now, are we, huh?? Now we really are gonna go and land there, just because you said not to. So there.

    • by MickLinux (579158)
      I wouldn't trust any images from JPL at the moment. Yes, the pictures are interesting, so are pictures from Star Trek.
      • I wouldn't trust any images from JPL at the moment. Yes, the pictures are interesting, so are pictures from Star Trek.

        Why? I haven't heard anything so I searched for fake JPL images and this [youtube.com] was the first thing that came up. I'm assuming you're not talking about that so I'm curious.

        • by MickLinux (579158)

          I wasn't aware of any of that.No, I don't find junk like that convincing, either. I probably shouldn't have posted that comment anyhow. I was only aware of one specific instance of a publication/ documentation of some ...er, questionable material by JPL, but it was something else, later, that made my mind up.

          Maybe a more reasonable person than me would assume that the one instance was a fluke. Or if not a fluke, perhaps brought about by claims like the one you posted.

  • by strikethree (811449) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @09:01PM (#40609563) Journal

    I wish there were more comments in stories like these. I always get a sense of child-like wonder when I see new things like this and I always find myself wondering how/why/what is going on. With the physics stories, we usually see some experts or at least some clued-in non-arrogant people having discussions that REALLY enlighten me. Stuff like this, not so much. It makes me feel kind of sad.

    I wish I knew more about this subject or at least enough to know where to go look. I will probably have to start with cloud formations and vortex mechanics and work my way out from there, but by the time I finally have a general idea, the wonder will be lost... but at least the information will still reside in my brain and I can apply it to Jupiter or somesuch. I am getting too old and the universe is too big for me to do original research on everything. That is the only reason I wish I could live forever. :)

    • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @09:44PM (#40609859)
      I agree with you completely. Isn't it cool!? I'm 52 now, and as a kid, before the moon landing, many people then thought it quite possible that the lunar lander might sink into the 'green cheese' surface of the moon! I know that sounds crazy to anyone born after 1969 reading this, but that was people's thinking back then. We couldn't be sure what the moon was made of. We really didn't know! We've come so far since then in our knowledge of the universe, and every pic of anything we haven't done or seen before always makes me feel so awed. Awed, and grateful. Grateful for being alive in this amazing time of discovery we live in. And I wonder how far we'll eventually go.....
      • by Nyder (754090)

        I agree with you completely. Isn't it cool!? I'm 52 now, and as a kid, before the moon landing, many people then thought it quite possible that the lunar lander might sink into the 'green cheese' surface of the moon! I know that sounds crazy to anyone born after 1969 reading this, but that was people's thinking back then. We couldn't be sure what the moon was made of. We really didn't know! We've come so far since then in our knowledge of the universe, and every pic of anything we haven't done or seen before always makes me feel so awed. Awed, and grateful. Grateful for being alive in this amazing time of discovery we live in. And I wonder how far we'll eventually go.....

        I don't think most people have gotten smarter since then, sure, most know the moon is rock, but that's only because they believe everything that is told to them.

    • by qwidjib0 (900833)
      Agreed, people suck. The fact that we've barely touched the tip of the iceberg in discovering things like this is something to genuinely be excited about. I can't say that about many things in today's society.
  • by Darth Snowshoe (1434515) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:43AM (#40614001)

    NASA is due (this month?) to make a final selection between three competing Discovery-class proposals. Among them is the Titan Mare Explorer, the first attempt to put a boat on an extraterrestrial sea. How cool would that be? Good overviews of the proposal are here;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_Mare_Explorer [wikipedia.org]
    http://futureplanets.blogspot.com/2011/08/time-and-updates.html [blogspot.com]

    A more detailed description is here;
    http://www.kiss.caltech.edu/workshops/titan2010/presentations/aharonson.pdf [caltech.edu]

    Disclosure: If the TiME mission is selected, I am hoping to work on it.

  • except the hurricane is most/all of the planet!

    I think it is an area of relative calm around the swirling bands...but that's my 2 cents of scientific insight/guessing...

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