A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Liquid Lakes On Titan Ready For Robofish
Liquid lakes on Titan, one of the moon's of Saturn, were predicted by scientists twenty years ago. Newly available radar imaging data from the Cassini flyby of July 22, 2006, appear to confirm the existence of these lakes.
(Liquid lakes on Titan)
The image shown above gives convincing evidence; this image was published this week in the journal Nature. Intensity in this colorized image is proportional to how much radar brightness is returned, or more specifically, the logarithm of the radar backscatter cross-section. The colors are not a representation of what the human eye would see on Titan.
The lakes are tinted blue; the radar image strip is foreshortened to simulate an oblique view. The image is centered near 80 degrees north, 35 degrees west and is about 140 kilometers (84 miles) across. The smallest details in this image are about 500 meters (1,640 feet) across.
"The lakes are basically black in the [radar] data, which is how a liquid would behave," Stofan said. Radar data alone wasn't enough, however. A very smooth deposit of fine soil would also appear black on radar, Stofan explained.
The clincher that the patches were liquid lakes came from looking at the surrounding terrain. Some of the patches appeared to be fed by sinuous channels, or "rivers," some more than 62 miles (100 kilometers) long. Others appeared to be contained within rimmed circular depressions, similar to crater lakes or volcanic calderas on Earth.
"The morphological evidence points completely away from it being a smooth deposit of soil or sediment. It's just not consistent," said study team member Ellen Stofan of University College London and Caltech. "Combining these two sets of data, it led us to feel very confident about the interpretation that they're actually liquid."
Science fiction writer Michael Swanwick, writing well after scientists had predicted liquid lakes on Titan, created an enjoyable story about a scientific expedition to this fascinating Saturnian moon. And what would be the best way to obtain samples from a methane lake, now that you've found one? The Mitsubishi robot turbot, of course:
Consuelo carefully cleaned both of her suitís gloves in the sea, then seized the shrink-wrapís 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 Iím 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 turbotís infrared eyes.
(Read more about the Titan-exploring robofish)
Roboticists are working on robofish as fast as they can; see these stories for details:
- Robotic Fish From China
- Robotic Carp Swims Realistically In London
- RoboSalmon Are Descended From SHARCs
Read more at NASA and Space.com.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/4/2007)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
NASA Tests Prototype Europa Lander
Why have legs if they don't walk around? Just asking.
NASA's Psyche Mission To Metal Asteroid Launches Thursday!
'We can even fuel the space ships and mine the Asteroid Belt for rare metals...'
Space Weather To Universe Weather
'It radiates outward in a cone which, by the time it has reached our section of space, is many lightyears across.' - Poul Anderson, 1953.
That's MOXIE! Terraforming Mars Baby Steps
'Drake was the young spatial engineer he employed to terraform the little rock.' - Jack Williamson, 1931.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Wearable Energy Harvester
'... he had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action from the motion of breathing.'
Drones Participate In Buddhist Rites
'...a prayer wheel swung into view and began spinning at a furious pace.'
Anna Indiana AI Singer-Songwriter
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents'
Video Manicuring ala Schismatrix
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time'
'Feel the AGI' OpenAI Leader Now OpenWorship
'And are all the people willing to be governed by a machine?'
NASA Tests Prototype Europa Lander
Why have legs if they don't walk around?
Tailsitter Drone Aircraft For SAR
'...it was so easy for me to remain motionless in midair.'
Forward CarePod The AI Doctor's Office
'It's an old model,' Rawlins said. 'I'm not sure what to do.'
Mika The Robot-Boss
'the robot-boss was busy at the lip of the new lode instructing and egging the men on to greater speed...'
Yamaha Motoroid 2 No Handlebars Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He rode the bike with an intense lack of physical grace...'
San Francisco Autobus
'THE autobus turned silently down the wide street...'
Should Your Car Decide If You Can Drive?
'Okay. Maybe the car was right...'
Lucid Dreams On Demand From Prophetic and Card79
'the peeper did not operate by virtue of its machinery alone, but by the reaction of the brain and the body of its user...'
Honda UNI-ONE Hands-Free Wheelchair Follows 100 Year-Old Design
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'
EBS-260 Handjet Free Hand Dot Matrix Printer
'McKie held a chalf-memory stick over the dusted surface.'
Sensitive, Soft Robot Skin
'...tinted material that had all the feel and appearance of human flesh and epidermis.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories