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NASA Space Science

Cassini Discovers First River On Another World 230

Posted by timothy
from the ok-now-find-some-rafts dept.
AbsoluteXyro writes "NASA's Cassini orbiter, which has been dutifully exploring the Saturn system since 2004, has captured images of the first river ever observed on another world — and it's a biggun. 200 miles of flowing hydrocarbons meandering down a valley in the north polar region of Saturn's moon Titan, emptying into the awesomely named Kraken Mare — itself a body of liquid roughly the size of the Mediterranean Sea back on Earth. But don't think of going for an extraterrestrial skinny dip quite yet, temperatures on Titan average a brutally cold 290 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit)."
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Cassini Discovers First River On Another World

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  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:55PM (#42278337)

    They're called fossil fuels because that's how they were formed on Earth.

    Correction: They're called fossil fuels because that's how we think they were formed on Earth. There is not much evidence for abiogenic hydrocarbons [wikipedia.org], but their isn't enough evidence to rule them out either. Coal clearly came from fossils, but for oil and gas it is still an open question.

  • Re:No running. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Megane (129182) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:05PM (#42278525) Homepage
    Oh, it's perfectly safe from fire. See, a hydrocarbon world like that is a chemical Bizarro World. It's the oxidizers that you have to keep under control.
  • Re:No running. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Phase Shifter (70817) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:56PM (#42279417) Homepage

    Oh, it's perfectly safe from fire. See, a hydrocarbon world like that is a chemical Bizarro World. It's the oxidizers that you have to keep under control.

    Indeed.
    I've occasionally wondered whether anyone at NASA has ever designed a UAV with oxygen or fluorine tanks instead of fuel tanks, for use on worlds with hydrogen/hydrocarbon atmospheres.

  • Re:Fahrenheit? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by omnichad (1198475) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:08PM (#42279629) Homepage

    Dividing inches into halves and then into halves again is easy to measure visually. I personally don't like using mm all that often for measuring things just because the lines are too close together. I realize that rulers with inches shows a line every 1/16th of an inch, but the lines are usually different lengths. I don't know why that's not done for even numbers of mm on the metric side. It's a much easier spatial math to me.

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