New Titan porn

Cassini-Titan-summer-2013-600x600

False-color mosaic courtesy of NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows differences in the composition of surface materials around hydrocarbon lakes at Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Kraken Mare, which is Titan’s largest sea and covers about the same area as Earth’s Caspian Sea and Lake Superior combined, can be seen spreading out with many tendrils on the upper right. The orange areas are thought to be the Titan equivalent of salt flats on Earth. Click image for more info at National Geographic online. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University of Idaho

Say “Cheese” to Cassini

PaleBlueBlot

“From its perch in the Saturn system, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took pictures of Earth from nearly 900 million miles (nearly 1.5 billion kilometers) today. To celebrate the first time the public has had advance notice that Earth’s portrait was being taken from interplanetary distances, scientists and engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other Earthlings elsewhere gathered to wave at Saturn on July 19. Cassini took pictures of Earth between 2:27 and 2:42 p.m. PDT today.”

Size does matter in space exploration: smaller might be way better

There are more than one-hundred sizable objects in our solar system with ice or liquid water, each reachable and explorable with present day technology

There are more than one-hundred sizable objects in our solar system, many of them with ice or liquid water, including planets, moons, asteroids, and KBOs, each reachable and explorable with present day technology

Small probes the size of a human hand or smaller could be a big help to planetary exploration. Moore’s Law and tightening budgets could team up to make that technological leap sooner rather than later. In particular, small probes packed with microelectronics and advanced software capable of learning on the alien spot might bring the deep subcyrosphere of moons like Europa or Saturn’s Dionne under scrutiny: [Read more...]