Titan's Liquid Lakes, Beaches Proven

Images from NASA confirm that Saturn's moon Titan definitely has true lakes filled with liquid. Ah, the pristine beaches of Titan!

"This is the first observation that really pins down that Titan has a surface lake filled with liquid," said lead researcher Robert Brown of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson.

As for how the liquid lake feature would feel if one were to step in, "Liquid ethane-methane mix would be less viscous than water," Brown said. "If riffling your fingers through it you wouldn't feel as much resistance."


(Beautiful beaches on Titan)

Before you get your tanning oil ready, remember that these lakes are filled with liquid methane at about -180 degrees Celsius. You'll want your one-piece Dewar bathing suit.

SF readers will recall Michael Swanwick's short story Slow Life, which described how robotic fish could be used to explore the depths of a lake on Titan. If you'd like to imagine what it would be like, give your imagination a boost by reading this story online at Analog SF. Here's a quote to get you started:

Consuelo carefully cleaned both of her suit’s gloves in the sea, then seized the shrink-wrap’s zip tab and yanked. The plastic parted. Awkwardly, she straddled the fish, lifted it by the two side-handles, and walked it into the dark slush. She set the fish down. "Now I’m turning it on." The Mitsubishi turbot wriggled, as if alive. With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone. Lizzie switched over to the fishcam. Black liquid flashed past the turbot’s infrared eyes.
(Read more about the robotic fish)

From Giant Lake Confirmed on Saturn's Moon Titan via io9.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/31/2008)

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