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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old December 20 2009, 07:12 PM   #1
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Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8409052.stm

A daring proposal to try to put a "boat" down on a sea of Saturn's moon Titan is about to be submitted to Nasa.

The scientific team behind the idea is targeting Ligeia Mare, a vast body of liquid methane sited in the high north of Saturn's largest moon.

The concept will be suggested to the US space agency for one of its future mission opportunities that will test a novel power system.

It would be the first exploration of a planetary sea beyond Earth.

"It is something that would really capture the imagination," said Dr Ellen Stofan, from Proxemy Research, who leads the study team.

"The story of human exploration on Earth has been one of navigation and seafaring, and the idea that we could explore for the first time an extraterrestrial sea I think would be mind-blowing for most people," she told BBC News.

Dr Stofan, who is also an honorary professor at University College London, has been describing her group's idea here at the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) Fall Meeting, the world's largest annual gathering of Earth scientists.
I'm probably not the only person here who thinks this sort of adventure would be simply awesome. True extraterrestrial lunanautical exploration.
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Old December 20 2009, 07:18 PM   #2
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

Why does this sound like the plot of a bad scifi movie? I don't like it...what are they hoping to find in a sea of liquid methane??? I thought there was a plan to send something to one of Jupiters moons and drill through the ice...is that still on the table???
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Old December 20 2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

^^^ Read the article. It mentions performing proper chemical tests on the methane seas and assessing the weather system too.

I think any opportunity to explore the different aspects of Titan's environment is a good opportunity - I mean there were probably people who laughed at the idea of driving a car around our Moon. The place could be very useful to us should we reach the level of interplanetary commerce.

The machine is apparently called the Titan Mare Explorer.
So, it looks as though if we want to find out what's going on over at Titan.... [puts on sunglasses] ... only TiME will tell.
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Old December 20 2009, 07:31 PM   #4
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

^
I would hope it would be a multi exploration venture...Land, Sea & Air. I am all for exploration...just hope it is worth it.

I think that mission is competing with the Jupiter Europa Mission.

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsyst.../20090218.html

I am guessing they went with Saturn/Titan mission first???

Last edited by love like winter; December 20 2009 at 07:42 PM.
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Old December 20 2009, 07:42 PM   #5
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

I just hope the Explorer doesn't run into trouble with any pirates out in those nefarious Titan seas.
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Old December 20 2009, 07:45 PM   #6
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

Ice Queen wrote: View Post
I just hope the Explorer doesn't run into trouble with any pirates out those nefarious Titan seas.
Unless the Somalians get there first...
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Old December 20 2009, 08:29 PM   #7
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale . . .
A tale of a fateful trip . . .
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Old December 20 2009, 08:49 PM   #8
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

But yeah. The entire moon is one big hydrocarbon haven. But who knows what other precious booty (Anglo-Saxon or otherwise ) they might find in there...
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Old December 20 2009, 08:51 PM   #9
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale . . .
A tale of a fateful trip . . .










GILLIGAN!!!
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Old December 20 2009, 11:38 PM   #10
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

I think it is well-past time for us to go ice-fishing on Europa.
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Old December 21 2009, 02:55 AM   #11
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

Brilliant idea. Any way to get video captures? Probably not eh? I'd love to see actual moving video, not computer simulations.
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Old December 21 2009, 03:11 AM   #12
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

They could probably capture video, even HD, especially if they send a probe with a nuclear powerplant. (Probably hard to rely on solar from Titan's surface. The sun is farther away, and I think the atmosphere's pretty thick too.)

The hard part is getting that data back here intact. Data links from space probes are slow. It's just a matter of reliability; if you try to transmit too fast, too many bits get corrupted too often.

Imagine trying to download a 2-hour 1080p movie on a 56k modem. Now slow it down by an order of magnitude.
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Old December 21 2009, 03:58 AM   #13
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

Lindley wrote: View Post
They could probably capture video, even HD, especially if they send a probe with a nuclear powerplant. (Probably hard to rely on solar from Titan's surface. The sun is farther away, and I think the atmosphere's pretty thick too.)

The hard part is getting that data back here intact. Data links from space probes are slow. It's just a matter of reliability; if you try to transmit too fast, too many bits get corrupted too often.

Imagine trying to download a 2-hour 1080p movie on a 56k modem. Now slow it down by an order of magnitude.
We really need to get that Earth-to-outer solar system T1 line going.
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Old December 22 2009, 12:52 AM   #14
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

Overheard when the toilet on board the Titan Cruiser failed like it's space station counterpart.

Astronaut 1: Man, that liquid methane is cold!
Astronaut 2: Yeah it's deep too!
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Old December 23 2009, 12:15 PM   #15
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Re: Yarrrr! Proposal to sail the seas of moon Titan by boat

This is a cool idea, but I think a submarine might be more interesting. See what's going on under ther surface, where there'd be a greater likelihood of life.

As said above, the really big problem would be getting data back. Submarine transmits to (let's call it) an an anchor point, where there's an aerial up to a satellite, which collates the info and sends it off in packet bursts with redundancy.
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