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December 18, 2009 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Kraken Mare lake on Saturn's largest moon Titan was finally located and photographed. It's the first photo of a lake of liquid on another planetary body.
posted by blue_beetle (41 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, but NASA's been generous this season. I think we should all chip in and get them a gift card for The Container Store.
posted by Iridic at 11:34 AM on December 18, 2009


Neat!
posted by brundlefly at 11:42 AM on December 18, 2009


they're just buttering us up for the announcement that the Mothership is on its way.


Note: This may not be a good thing.
posted by The Whelk at 11:43 AM on December 18, 2009


We're whalers on the moon [of Saturn],
We carry a harpoon.
But there ain't no whales
So we tell tall tales
And sing our whaling tune.

posted by blue_beetle at 11:44 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Additional Information: Wikipedia, US Geological Survey, the Cassini Mission
posted by blue_beetle at 11:49 AM on December 18, 2009


I sense a waterski trip in the making.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:51 AM on December 18, 2009


Wow, whatever is happening at Saturn is both beautiful and interesting, and unnerving and freaky. I know everything always works out, and yet the surprise factor here is nearing the impact of Singularity.
posted by humannaire at 11:51 AM on December 18, 2009


I sense a waterski trip in the making.

From the article: There are more and more signs that lakes exist on Saturn's moon Titan, filled with liquid hydrocarbons.

I sense a claim of WMDs in the making.
posted by DU at 11:55 AM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Man, it sucks to work on Titan. Sure your card says you're an Industrial Interplanetary Methane Extraction Specialist Grade B but everyone just calls you a fart farmer.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on December 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


That's not a lake—it's a solar panel for a sex machine!
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:09 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I find something about that image really affecting. I've seen plenty of photos of other planets, but somehow that glint of light and blur of atmosphere makes me feel like I'm coming upon another world.
posted by lucidium at 12:10 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Higher res.

It's so... blonde.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:20 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't it will be long before we realise that life isn't that rare, it's just small and hard to see from far away. I'd put a cheeky $10 on three or four lifey planets/moons in our Solar System.
posted by doublehappy at 12:30 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


um.. "lifey" is apparently an adjective meaning life-bearing. Don't know what happened there but I like it better.
posted by doublehappy at 12:32 PM on December 18, 2009


ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE. ON TITAN, MOTORIZED WATERCRAFT ARE NOT PERMITTED INSIDE THE RED ZONES. LIFEGUARDS ARE ONLY ON DUTY FROM SUNRISE TO SUNDOWN. NO DOGS OR NUDITY ALLOWED.
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:38 PM on December 18, 2009 [21 favorites]


Also, Kraken Mare lake? Temping fate much?
posted by The Whelk at 12:39 PM on December 18, 2009


There are more and more signs that lakes exist on Saturn's moon Titan, filled with liquid hydrocarbons.

I sense a claim of WMDs in the making.


We need to drill here on Earth so we can reduce our dependence on extraterrestrial oil.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:44 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seriously, "lifey" is the best new work I've heard in years.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:54 PM on December 18, 2009


I, too, approve of lifey. I'm going to start using it.
posted by brundlefly at 12:56 PM on December 18, 2009


"Should I eat this? It looks kinda lifey."
posted by The Whelk at 12:56 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Abe Vigoda is lifey.
posted by brundlefly at 1:00 PM on December 18, 2009


Drill, baby, drill!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:07 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, it sucks to work on Titan.

Well, of course it sucks on the surface, but Titan-Orbital City is a pretty decent place. The space port is really nice, and there's some great bars and venues, the culture is fucking weird though. There's some restaurant at the first Lagrangian point and it's got a huge transparent nano-fiber ceiling and a great view of Saturn. It's pricey but nice.

They even have beer brewed by the monks on Iapetus.
posted by fuq at 2:10 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


So that's where the Kraken is really from... no Rikti involved after all. Curious.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:29 PM on December 18, 2009


The Wikipedia article about the lakes of Titan says that "Titan hosts within its polar lakes "hundreds of times more natural gas and other liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth." The desert sand dunes along the equator, while devoid of open liquid, nonetheless hold more organics than all of Earth's coal reserves."

Well, now I'm suspicious. How did our oil and natural gas get up there?
posted by sneebler at 2:32 PM on December 18, 2009


Kraken Mare? I am now holding out for Owlbear Plains, Beholder Steppes and Oh My Fucking God Just Drop The Equipment And Run Marsh.
posted by griphus at 3:45 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


love this pic from Cassini-Huygens; it makes it look like a regular ole marsh. Like "hey, goin' down to the docks to offload!"

Also. Huygens is pronounced sort of like HAOW-HOONSS.
posted by exlotuseater at 4:13 PM on December 18, 2009


Up in heaven, Carl Sagan rolls a dooby, licks it shut and says, "Fuck, yeah. Planets."
posted by Pecinpah at 4:25 PM on December 18, 2009 [4 favorites]



Well, of course it sucks on the surface, but Titan-Orbital City is a pretty decent place. The space port is really nice, and there's some great bars and venues, the culture is fucking weird though. There's some restaurant at the first Lagrangian point and it's got a huge transparent nano-fiber ceiling and a great view of Saturn. It's pricey but nice.

They even have beer brewed by the monks on Iapetus.


OMG YES. Titans are just so fucking weird, and so PROUD of their insular weirdness- The super-passionate but short fads, the obsession with nanofiber transparency (have you SEEN the suits?), the disturbingly sincere boosterism, the *music*, the severe Planetside-Orbital split (Venus has NOTHING on the Titans). It really does feel like a show they're putting on. I hope it's a show they're putting on. Like, all the Colonies have their own tone and stuff, but usually there are National Or Genus Interest groups that form a patchwork - not on fuckin Titan man. You have to *want* to live there., which makes you a Titan ..and totally fucking insane, apparently.

Like, take the other colonies. Venus is pretty much a dictatorship with a very active tourism branch. Anyone who lives Ab Venus knows just how hilarious that sign "Welcome To Venusburg! City of Love!" is. They drink, a lot, and make jokes. But like, no one really lives there so it's more of a shared ordeal thing. Comradeship! Fun!

Luna is, thankfully, after the Federalization, free of the libertarian nut-jobs and just so fucking homey and modest. You can't get a Lunar to complain. About anything. They all work in really nice boring jobs for the mining companies or service positions or telecoms and goshers! it's! just! the! best! So QUIET here, SO CLEAN- whatever. They're nice people, and the first of the colonies to say they're BLANK first and LUNAR second.

Mars has that mix of macho frontier jock culture/ hippy science commune thing happening. More full of wingnuts since they got purged from Luna, but still pretty chill in that live and let live thing they keep pushing like it's an article of faith. There is that divide between Noobs and Natives, and they can be shockingly xenophobic, but it's not aggressive. (Unless you make fun of their dippy claims about a anicent lost civilization under the crust and how they where perfect beings of love and knowledge and shit. Then the famous Martian Temper comes out.)

Europa is cruise ships and research grants and people who wished they chose another career. Yes the city-ships are ...unique, but who goes to Europa? Seriously? Grad students and people with more money then sense. Name one band from Europa. I'll wait.

But Titan? God. They really love the idea of being at the end of nowhere. You remember that song "Rare Element"? All about Titan, but these all these sneaky coded messages that only make sense if you live there. They don't even *get* the Max Stream. It's *all* local, right down to what Axis you live on or what Engine you belong to.

So, you hear about that guy at Neptune Station? Yeah, he was left there alone long enough that he thought the computer was trying to kill him. So he shot it, right in the life support system. They found his body a week later when he didn't answer the Company's calls.

Don't tell the Titans that. They'd hate to loose their title was Most Bugfuck Colony.
posted by The Whelk at 5:14 PM on December 18, 2009 [12 favorites]


Oh! and the fuckin Ioians, proud motto "Suicide Is A Conscious Choice?" Lovers of death sports and drinks off the Scorville scale? Those guys? They think the Titans are "off".

Granted they think anyone who doesn't find the idea of jumping headfirst into an active volcano an acceptable way to pass the evening is "off", but you know.
posted by The Whelk at 5:17 PM on December 18, 2009


It is wonderful to be alive in such times. We have seen sights previous generations without number could only dream about.

And made snarky comments about them.
posted by Fiery Jack at 5:57 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, Kraken Mare lake? Temping fate much?

Seriously! The philologists will never stop making fun of whoever named that. "Kraken Sea Lake". Come on.
posted by kenko at 8:04 PM on December 18, 2009


They really love the idea of being at the end of nowhere. You remember that song "Rare Element"? All about Titan, but these all these sneaky coded messages that only make sense if you live there. They don't even *get* the Max Stream. It's *all* local, right down to what Axis you live on or what Engine you belong to.

I think it's because they're primarily an orbital colony, so the whole place is rearranged every few cycles. On the surface colonies, you know who your neighbors are, and you know they'll stay your neighbor for a while, on Titan, I'll be damned if most of those folks even care what Engine they sleep in. "Sure you're my neighbor, hell, you're my best friend/my other best friend? who knows where she been!"

Of course, it's also because (arguably) Titan is the most important colony because of the limitless hydrocarbons, so I think a lot of their weirdness comes from the fact that no one on Titan has to care about much other than staying alive and entertained. I always laught about the time I saw a traveling Syndicate businessman trying to haggle with a Titan. "What? you can't afford it? So just take it! Those Sol-creds are only worth something because of Titan!" The businessman is flabbergasted because everywhere else, he's loaded, and he comes to Titan only to find that the poorest alcoholic on Titan has double his net worth and all his Sol-creds are virtually worthless. Monetary exchange on Titan just seems optional, but it's so hard to tell, sometimes the Titans care about the Sol-creds as a respect issue, but sometimes they are offended if sol-creds are even discussed. Sometimes both in the same cycle.
posted by fuq at 1:52 PM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yay!
posted by Lobster Garden at 2:55 PM on December 19, 2009


For the third time today I'm posting a link about Lake Vostok, which lies 3km under Antarctic ice. It's conditions are likely similar to those under the ice cap of Europa, and may harbor unusual life forms.
posted by neuron at 4:09 PM on December 19, 2009


0.14G. Hydrocarbon waves, maybe 100m high?

SURFS UP!
posted by schwa at 5:27 PM on December 19, 2009


The businessman is flabbergasted because everywhere else, he's loaded, and he comes to Titan only to find that the poorest alcoholic on Titan has double his net worth and all his Sol-creds are virtually worthless.

Oh yeah, money si the big elephant in the room. There is so much money flowing in Titan and they spend it all *there*. Lets face it, Titan is a bitch to get to, and the whole place is overbuilt fo an nth degree. Anyplace else would be swarming with people, but Titan's doors are kept very, very closed - for a bunch of reasons, but the big thing is they HATE talking about money.

Seriously, can you imagine a Martian not talking about money? Or not talking about salary levels on Venus? Hell even on Luna they mutter about the "unfortunates". Not Titan. They never talk about money, everything is supposed to be about these friendly exchanges and relationships. Like on Ceres, where it's so taboo to talk about cash cause we're-totally-post-scarcity-you-guys, but unlike Ceres it's not a huge fucking lie? They really are, and if you GET a few cycles on Titan, you're fucking Golden. Also, unlike Ceres, they're not like, all ex-Terran Colony wannabes. Remember the Ceres "revolt"? All Terran. They couldn't even get ONE Martian, and you know how much the Natives like to piss-off Earth at the drop a fucking hat. Titans are almost all ex-colony, born and raised in space. You know the big re-mix of "Loving THe Alien?" The one with Madam Mercule And The Kraken Twins? Made the charts for 55 cycles in a row?

Of course not, it made the charts on *Titan*. No where else. Hell, they elected her to the community moderation and she resigned to focus on her hat-making. Titans are fucking off the charts, they really want to *be* aliens.

Not the fart farmers of course, but they don't get much say now do they?
posted by The Whelk at 6:36 PM on December 19, 2009


Anyway, moot and all. I've got a Section 14 (MARK THREE! He so totally deserved it) on my card so Titan is out of the question for a few cycles. I can't even go to Luna, which sucks cause you know I think the best folk music is coming out of the Lunar Suburbs. Shut up, they do awesome stuff, the kids there are so ...amazingly depraved. The meanest La Planges come from Luna. I mean, take this retro hit. They worship it. They even got a whole adorable movement called "Battle On! Babylon!" Titans would make it into a joke, Venusians would dance to it when drunk, Martians would talk- bite your ear off about the nature of freedom or gender roles, Europeans haven't *heard* of it, Ceresirese would go "this is *folk* music" and put it on the radio after an HOUR of discussing it's significance, Ionians would say it's faggy, Terrans think it's charmingly old-fashioned

Lunar kids are totally insane in a way the Titans can only dream. You ever read "Fuck You Pale Blue Dot"? Good stuff, and all Lunar.

Federalization just got rid of the Lunatic elements. There is so much bitter genius under the crust. Trust me, Luna is the fucking future man.
posted by The Whelk at 8:54 PM on December 19, 2009


Oh! just checked. I can't go to Luna but I *can* go to Neptune Station. Guess they don't are if I go Mark three a few times cause hey! it's not shooting out the oxygen for a few hundred people.
posted by The Whelk at 9:05 PM on December 19, 2009


I can't go to Luna but I *can* go to Neptune Station.

Fuck it man, I thought about it, there's still no decent place to live in the whole system but New York City. Yeah, I'll be broke the rest of my life, but fuck it man.
posted by fuq at 12:09 AM on December 22, 2009


fuck yeah. Throw a beer bottle at those stupid "A new and better life" balloons for me.
posted by The Whelk at 5:31 AM on December 22, 2009


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