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NASA Space Science

Cassini Discovers First River On Another World 230

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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  • No running. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:41PM (#42275917)
    No bombing.
    Diving permitted at deep end only.
  • by epSos-de ( 2741969 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:43PM (#42275963) Homepage Journal
    The white spots on the river banks look like population hot-spots on earth.

    Let the conspiracy theorists begin making up stuff.
    Surely they will claim something about extra-terrestrial cities and FBI secrets.
    • by displague ( 4438 ) *

      Flood regions, differing elevations, geological compositions, and sediment deposits (maybe phosphorous ones, that'd be cool)..
        or street lamps, apartment buildings, and neon lights.

    • by babtras ( 629678 )
      Considering this is radar and not visible spectrum, it isn't street lights. Clearly they pave their roads with something radar-reflective.
      • Thank you very much. You just gave an idea of how the aliens use geological compositions and sediment deposits to pave their roads with something radar-reflective.

        With your help, we are going to give more credit to the conspiracy.
      • something radar-reflective.

        Rough surfaces. Perhaps piles of rocks/ice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:46PM (#42276011)

    Next up on Fox News - Terrorists on Saturn's moon are out to destroy America! Support out troops! Praise the lord and pass the ammunition!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:50PM (#42276079)

    I don't get how this is new. Cassini has been detecting branching river systems and large lakes (Great Lakes size) filled with liquid methane since early in the mission. This latest release is adding to the mapped area, but isn't particularly new in that regard. However, if you read the original NASA press release on the Cassini web site [], it makes more sense. This is not the first, but the longest river system that has been observed so far on Titan, at about 400km long.

  • Hmm, hydrocarbons and not a plant in sight? I'm thinking we might want to stop calling oil and natural gas fossil fuels.

  • It's not so cold. (Score:5, Informative)

    by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:56PM (#42276173)

    It's only -179 C. Not exactly shorts weather, mind you.

    • Depends on what you're used to.

      • No kidding - I've experienced -52 C (it was closer to -60 C with the wind chill.) That's pretty cold. To think that this is three times colder is unfathomable. But still, -300 F sounds a lot colder than it really is. The only thing I see that still uses the Fahrenheit scale on a daily basis is the stove. Everything else is in Celsius, as it should be.

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:27PM (#42276789)
    I can start planning my black water rafting trip.
    • I went on a Blackwater rafting trip once. All I remember was the other rafters all had guns and hydrocarbons were involved.

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @02:31PM (#42276851)
    River of hydrocarbons and no one is blaming BP for the spill?
    • Hold on now! BP isn't getting out of this one that quickly mister! I'm sure they or one of their contractors were involved somehow.

    • River of hydrocarbons and no one is blaming BP for the spill?

      No, but they are planning a mission...

  • That is 94 Kalvin, really the only scale that make any sense for numbers this low.

  • Slashdot.txt (Score:2, Insightful)

    Awesome science stuff happens, queue 300 posts of retards bitching about the unit of measurement a writer chose to use so the public he writes to can relate easier.

    If you have an issue with the measurement don't bitch and moan, do the conversion and move on. That's what those of us raised on the imperial scales do when we see metric stuff posted (unless we were those fortunate to have grown up learning both)

    • You don't understand, man! Somebody said something in a way we don't like! We will have blood!!!!
  • Looking at the image on the NASA page, it jumps out at you: it's a fractal. To quote Marathon 1, "They're eveywhere!"

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger