Weather Report From Titan: It's Raining Methane (Hallelujah)

By Patrick Morgan | March 18, 2011 5:28 pm

What’s the News: Images sent back from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft depict storm clouds and methane rain puddles, the first solid evidence of modern rainfall on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. “We’re pretty confident that it has just rained on Titan,” lead author Elizabeth Turtle, from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, told Wired. Astronomers have previous evidence of sulfuric-acid precipitation on Venus, but it doesn’t count as rainfall because it never reaches the surface.

What’s the Olds:

Not So Fast: Don’t read too much into these showers: Methane rain doesn’t mean life. The search continues.

    Reference: “Rapid and Extensive Surface Changes Near Titan’s Equator: Evidence of April Showers.” E.P. Turtle, J.E. Perry, A.G. Hayes, R.D. Lorenz, J.W. Barnes, A.S. McEwen, R.A. West, A.D. Del Genio, J.M. Barbara, J.I. Lunine, E.L. Schaller, T.L. Ray, R.M.C. Lopes, E.R. Stofan. Science, Vol 331, March 18, 2011. DOI: 10.1126/science.1201063

    Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

    CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space
    MORE ABOUT: Cassini, moon, Saturn, Titan
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