Thursday, March 20, 2014

Titanic waves (Pun!)


It's a truth universally acknowledged that I'm easily excited, but nonetheless, finding ocean waves on other planets is still pretty cool. I read this story over at I Fucking Love Science:
Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, looks a lot like Earth, except in deepfreeze. It’s got a nitrogen atmosphere, along with lakes and seas, channels sculpted by rivers, and even mudflats and rain clouds. The moon is so much like our planet that it’s a frequent setting for sci-fi...
But while Titan appears so earthlike in so many ways, it's still a very alien place. The moon’s lakes and seas are not made of H2O -- at minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit, Titan’s surface is way too cold for liquid water. Researchers believe their water is actually a mixture of hard-to-freeze hydrocarbons like methane. And Titan’s lakes are eerily smooth: where are the waves? After all, "We know there is wind on Titan," says Alex Hayes of Cornell University. "The moon's magnificent sand dunes [prove] it." 
Now, after years of searching for some telltale ripples, researchers say they may have detected waves in two of Titan’s lakes. If confirmed, this would be the first discovery of ocean waves beyond Earth...
One little hitch... they might only be a few centimetres high. Or bubbles rising to the surface. Or an iceberg. But they reckon they're waves! Imagine this view from the surfbreak!


For some pretty excited descriptions of Titan ("When it comes to Saturn’s largest moon, the question is not ‘what’s cool about Titan?’, it’s what’s *not* cool about it."), check this link out.

4 comments:

  1. You know what? I'm supposed to write a little post about a sci-fi novel I just read. In the book, the main character goes to Saturn and, since she has some spare time, she goes surfing the gravitational pull of Titan on the outher rocky/icy rings.
    Surfing the gravity wave itself!! It was just a page in a non-surfing novel book, but it was an awesome idea!
    I should write that post.. :)
    F

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  2. Oh man!

    This comment just made my WEEK! please post a link to the post when it's done. I get so stoked when things connect like this across the Surfing blogosphere!

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  3. http://surfdipendente.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/saturn-surfing.html


    here we go! :)

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  4. And more on space oceans!

    https://theconversation.com/waterworld-cassini-spots-the-motion-of-enceladuss-ocean-25069

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