Titan may have oily oceans: BBC

Answers and Replies

  • #2
15
0
We should find out soon. :smile:

If the Huygens probe lands on one of these 'oceans' will it affect the ability of the probe to send back useful data? Or could the probe sink without trace?
 
  • #3
selfAdjoint
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
6,786
7
It was built with the assumption (hope?) that it might land in liquid. It's set up to float, right itself and send data from there.
 
  • #4
Phobos
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,939
6
Cassini arrives at Saturn in July 2004. I can't wait! (well, I suppose I have been waiting patiently for the past 6 years...a few more months should be ok)

from NASA's site...(emphasis mine)
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini/MoreInfo/faq.shtml#faq8 [Broken]
The Huygens probe, supplied by the European Space Agency, carries a well-equipped robotic laboratory that it will use to scrutinize the clouds, atmosphere, and surface of Saturn's moon Titan. As the 2.7-meter-diameter (8.9-foot) probe enters the atmosphere it will begin taking measurements in the haze layer above the cloud tops. As it descends -- first on a main parachute and later on a drogue chute for stability -- various instruments will measure the temperature, pressure, density, and energy balance in the atmosphere.
As the Huygens probe breaks through the cloud deck, a camera will capture pictures of the Titan panorama. Instruments will also be used to study properties of Titan's surface remotely -- and perhaps directly, should the probe survive the landing.

Many scientists theorize that Titan may be covered by lakes or oceans of methane or ethane, so the Huygens probe is designed to function even if it lands in liquid. If the battery-powered probe survives its landing, it will relay measurements from Titan's surface until the Cassini orbiter flies beyond the horizon and out of radio contact.
Guess I gotta wait until Jan 2005 before we find out about Titan though (according to the BBC article in the OP).
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Related Threads on Titan may have oily oceans: BBC

  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
3K
Replies
11
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
23
Views
3K
Replies
9
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
728
Top