Space Round-Up

Scientists report definitive evidence of the presence of lakes filled with liquid methane on Saturn's moon Titan in this week's journal Nature cover story.

Read more at the Cassini homepage.

Emily Lakdawalla summarises the paper and its background here.

Did bodies of liquid water shape the Martian landscape? Are reservoirs of liquid water driving the plumes on Enceladus? Here's a drier explanation for Mars and one for Enceladus too.

Do you tend to think of the moon as a flat disc? Watch it wobble here.

What will the solar system be like after the sun has gobbled up all of its tasty, nourishing hydrogen? Astrophysicists in exotic Warwick have improved our understanding. Find out what they have to say here. (Via)

So far we've only been able to detect two extra-solar planets anywhere near the size of Earth (5.5 and 7.5 times the Earth's mass, respectively). This should change thanks to COROT, a mission by the French space agency, CNES. [cf Beagle 2.]

And what about America? How about that base on the Moon?

The NASA plan endorsed the idea of a permanent base on the Moon, but did not offer a purpose for such a base: no scientific or military or practical application was identified. Instead, proposals for lunar bases have come from those who want to build the base, not from those who might use it. The goal of permanence suggests a never-ending, money-consuming program.

Louis D. Friedman has written another of his excellent critiques of NASA policy; read the whole thing here.


Michelle said...

Liquid methane does not sound nice. :-P I could explain why it does not sound nice, but that wouldn't be nice.

Pacian said...

If there's something funny about liquid methane, Michelle, perhaps you'd like to share it with the rest of the class?

susanna said...

Maybe one day scientists will do some archeological digging on gassy Titan and discover cow fossils. Think about it... "Moooooooooo...n".