More Questions Than Answers | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Airborne Unlimited-
Monday

Airborne-Unmanned w/AUVSI-
Tuesday

Airborne Unlimited-
Wednesday

AMA Drone Report-
Thursday

Airborne Unlimited-
Friday

Airborne On ANN

Airborne 02.12.18

Airborne-UnManned 02.13.18

Airborne 02.14.18

AMA Drone Report 02.15.18

Airborne 02.16.18

Airborne-YouTube

Airborne 02.12.18

Airborne-UnManned 02.13.18

Airborne 02.14.18

AMA Drone Report 02.15.18

Airborne 02.16.18

Thu, Jul 15, 2004

More Questions Than Answers

Cassini Scientists Rethinking Titan

NASA and the European Space Agency became fascinated with Saturn's moon, Titan, after analyzing the data from Voyager's flyby in 1980 and 1981. That's when they discovered the moon's dense atmosphere, made mostly of methane. Why, they wondered, at temperatures prevalent on Titan, doesn't the methane fall from the sky like rain? Perhaps there was a ocean of methane on the surface.

So they decided to launch Cassini-Huygens at a cost of $3.27 billion. But instead of answers, researchers are finding fuel for more and more questions.

For instance:

Even though the Titan telemetry from Cassini isn't quite what scientists were hoping for, they're seeing lines that could indicate cracks in the ice covering the surface. That could be a sign that Titan is all shook up by quakes -- meaning the Saturnian moon is a lot more geologically active than first believed.

Dark-hued plateaus once thought to be covered in a sort of carbon-based tar appear instead to be covered with ice.

Light-colored plateaus once thought to be made up of ice or liquid methane are instead a mixture of water and carbon-tar.

In spots where the plateaus butt up against each other, lines that should appear sharp -- as they do on Ganymede -- are instead fuzzy. Ellis Miner at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena (CA) tells USA Today, "I think the fuzziness we've seen so far is telling us something is going on down there."

There are very few craters pockmarking Titan's surface. That leads scientists to theorize that impacts are quickly covered up by wind or perhaps even some sort of icy volcanos.

"I think there's more surprise than disappointment," Miner tells USA Today. "We're going to see some really fascinating things."

Elizabeth Tuttle, a University of Arizona scientist on the Cassini imaging team, agrees. "The story has changed completely," she told the national newspaper.

Tuttle, Miner and other scientists expect more answers in January. That's when Cassini will pass within 746 miles of Titan and release a drop-ship, the Huygens lander. Combined data from both vehicles is expected to clear up a lot of things about Saturn's most fascinating moon -- but, as with the mission so far, it could also raise more questions.

FMI: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm

Advertisement

More News

AMA Drone Report 02.15.18: AMA Expo East, Skydio R1, TSB Canada Report

Also: DJI Knowledge Quiz, GoFly Competition, Drone ID Rules Coming, FAA Unenthusiastic About Prosecuting? The Academy of Model Aeronautics will host the annual AMA Expo East at the>[...]

Airborne 02.16.18: R66 Wire-Strike Protection, Elk v Helo, Trump Budget

Also: Red Bull Picks Hartzell, SNC Dream Chaser, CH-53K Demo's Vehicle Lift, Emirates Firms Up A380 Orders Robinson has added wire strike protection provisions to its R66 options l>[...]

Airborne-Unmanned 02.13.18: FAA UAS Symposium, Airbus Delivers, Manned EHANG 184

Also: UAS Pilot Code, FAA Drone Program, SkyWatch Funding, Quantix Hybrid UAS For Farmers The FAA and AUVSI will co-host the 3rd Annual FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Symposiu>[...]

Aero-News: Quote of the Day (02.19.18)

“We are excited that InstantEye has been selected by the Marines as their squad-level sUAS asset. We worked with the Navy and the Marines for some time as they tested and eva>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (02.19.18)

Aero Linx: European Air Law Association (EALA) EALA was established in 1988 with the aim to promote the study of European air law and to provide an open forum for those with an int>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2018 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC