Saturday, September 12, 2009

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore....

So, if I ask , "What's your favorite real life space craft?" I think most people would answer Hubble. That's fine and up to a point I'd agree with them until I think of Cassini. Cassini has once again sent back the picture above and I think that it rivals anything Hubble has produced.

Why this adulation for a fuzzy, out of focus image? Well, how about this for an answer? That's a picture of the surface of world that has lakes, oceans, clouds and even rain. It's atmosphere is comprised mostly of Nitrogen, the same as ours here on Earth. Here's a world that may be rich in the chemicals that started life on our world. Where is this planet that's a twin of Earth you might ask? Well, first off, it's not really a planet but a moon of Saturn....Welcome to Titan!

We can't talk about Titan with out talking about it's temperature. It's cold! How cold? How about cold enough for ice to be a hard as the hardest rock on Earth. How about cold enough for Methane to rain from the clouds as liquid and forming rivers and lakes? That's cold! We don't know for sure what we're looking at in the image above but we can guess that we're seeing dark methane lakes and other landforms created by running liquid.

Wow, Cassini...just WOW.