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Frozen and freezing seas: Mars, Europa, Titan

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 5:07 pm
by Windwalker
Three pieces of news came this week, all centered around seas: the south pole of Mars has enough frozen water to cover the planet in a sea three fathoms deep; Titan seems to have methane and ethane seas; and there is now a geological map of Europa, detailing the fractures that might be cracks of an ice sheet over a salty ocean underneath.

All these are exciting in themselves -- but they also highlight the possibility of past or present extraterrestrial life, the critical, still elusive second data point that might change our ideas even more than the Copernican shift.

Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 12:38 pm
by intrigued_scribe
Windwalker wrote:

All these are exciting in themselves -- but they also highlight the possibility of past or present extraterrestrial life, the critical, still elusive second data point that might change our ideas even more than the Copernican shift.


No truer words--and they inspire threads of thought that are reminiscent of (and possibly tie directly into) the many layers of contemplation and discussion surrounding the idea of traveling and adapting to potentially habitable worlds.

Heather

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:34 pm
by sanscardinality
Ben Bova's Jupiter, Saturn and Titan are some excellent books that speculate about prolific life in the solar system. The Jovian Leviathans are particularly cool!

SC

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 8:33 pm
by Windwalker
sanscardinality wrote:Ben Bova's Jupiter, Saturn and Titan are some excellent books that speculate about prolific life in the solar system. The Jovian Leviathans are particularly cool!

Sagan and Clarke did, too -- life among the clouds of gas giant planets, floating in the colder upper layers above areas where internal heating creates updrafts of organic materials. They postulated baloon-like herbivores (moo!) and manta-like carnivores.

Also, the Cassini probe "saw" some bizarre stable features on Saturn's poles, one being an enormous hexagonal formation. Here's the link: Saturn's hexagon

Posted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:54 pm
by intrigued_scribe
This makes for a fascinating and arresting discovery; this too has a great deal of potential for speculation on the formation and nature of atmospheres and climates, among other things.

Heather