CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Titan's Changing Lakes

Cassini's cameras have now imaged almost the entire globe of Titan and have revealed that the moonís changing seasons bring rains that fill lakes with liquid hydrocarbons. New maps and images of the moon are being released today to coincide with the publication of an analysis in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. (News release can be found here.)

Jan 29, 2009: Changes in Titan's Lakes - These mosaics of the south pole of Saturnís moon Titan, made from images taken almost one year apart, show changes in dark areas that may be lakes filled by seasonal rains of liquid hydrocarbons.
Jan 29, 2009: Maps of Titan Ė January 2009 - These updated maps of Saturnís moon Titan, consisting of data from the Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem, include Cassini's August 2008 images of the moon's north polar region.
Alliance Member Comments
delayna77 (Feb 5, 2009 at 11:15 PM):
WOW!!! It actually looks like a lake. You guy's rock. Very cool!
Red_dragon (Feb 2, 2009 at 6:49 AM):
This should have gone in first place: A fine job!. I tip my hat again to you for sharing with us these discoveries and making us to imagine places so both alien and familiar as Titan and join libbydaddy in the congratulations.
It will be interesting to see what happens with titanian weather during equinox and (i hope) solstice; we may have *surprises*. Keep up the good work!
libbydaddy (Jan 30, 2009 at 7:20 PM):
Mike1137 aside, I think this fascinating (non-political) discovery is momentous. The discovery rate and data recovery on this mission has been amazingly abundant. And to think that the full extent of this mission's impact on the scientific community is as much as decade's down the road. Up to now, no planetary missions (excepting, maybe, the combined Mars missions)have gathered so much data to be mined.

I have to thank Carolyn Porco and her team for such an incredible effort in keeping the constituency (the American tax payer)awed, amazed and informed. Nice job! Keep it up as I've come to rely on your witty take on the data. Excellent P/R for NASA as well. Of course, Moon Rovers in inauguration day parades don't hurt P/R much either.

Thanks Team Porco. Your work is much appreciated!
rochelimit (Jan 30, 2009 at 6:34 PM):
Interesting the the first real liquid lake is found in the polar area.
Tucker M (Jan 30, 2009 at 8:43 AM):
I want some of what mike1137 is smoking.
mikel137 (Jan 29, 2009 at 12:56 PM):
Intense interest in hydrocarbons on Titan seems to go beyond the mere possibility of Titan harboring life or some precursors of life. It appears fueled by political or economic interest or perhaps something more fundamental like a primal concern for the scarcity of carbon in the world today. Most carbon was removed from the terrestrial environment circulating in ancient times during the Carboniferous when fossil fuels were laid down. As a result, the digging of coal and pumping of oil out of the ground should be viewed as a good thing, a part of what is called Reclamation here in the United States.

Apart from that, only space aliens, or a nation's ambitious interest in dominating the world thirty years at a time, could command such enthusiasm.

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