Monday, April 17, 2017

Titan gets even stranger

These are earth dunes

Recently, we've determined there are 100 foot dunes running about the equator of Titan.  Only these aren't normal earth dunes like above.
Titan dunes 

These dunes are rather like sticky plastic.
And they may well have the ability to send out electrical charges...bolts of lightning. 

They are strong enough that the powerful winds of Titan don't move them much. Instead, their force of nature appears to be molded by electrostatic forces.

Actually, when grains of dust from a volcano on earth occurs, it can also get sticky and weird, hurtling electrical bolts of lightning around. The key difference here is that these appear to be more like plastic molds of our sand dunes and they seem to blatantly ignore the wind based on their shapes. (They are backwards in their shape)

And powerful electrical bolts could shoot out any time.

Also if a ship lands, it could immediately be covered in the plastic goo, preventing it from ever leaving. Not even a call out "Help, we are covered in thick plastic, we cannot leave the ship nor leave the planet."

Sounds like my story about Titan is DOA, right?
Well, good news. The dunes are an equatorial issue. 
My peeps will be landing on the North Pole of Titan. Why the north, instead of the South. The south should be warmer and gets more light.

Does it really matter?  Once the temp goes below -200 degrees, twenty degrees up or down really doesn't matter to a human. Neither is survivable without a kickass suit.

So I sent them to the pole with the most liquid fuel (methane) which can be converted into WATER and Carbon Dioxide.  (The water part is really important, but even the Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere might help 'warm' up the planet and the plants will like it.)

But water is our main focus, for two reasons. 1) We need it to survive. 2) Through electrolysis, we can extract oxygen to breathe, which we also tend to need to survive.

Another positive: Methane can be used as a fuel. It is after all the main ingredient in what we call natural gas here on earth. Since we might want to build shelters and warm them, that would be good. Also, the ship will need fuel to keep us warm before the shelters are built. And then the shelters will require heat as well.

Titan is too far away from the sun to ever have balmy weather, but overtime, we might be able to create warm shelters.

The main reason we should choose the north pole: We are certain one of the lakes on the North pole is methane. South Pole, we haven't verified what is in that smaller lake, so we will land on the North pole.

Still, there is a worrisome oddity: The lake doesn't have waves.  Given the low gravity, the lake should have huge waves, but it appears to be pancake flat. 

Perhaps the cold keeps it in a semi-frigid form.

Or perhaps, it is the winds of Titan that we don't understand. Based on the Huyen's descent, they appear to go all over the place, first one direction then the opposite direction. I'll just have to let my peeps work it out.

Back to the Gases of Titan
While Methane is the prominent gas on Titan, there is also Ethane.

On earth, ethane is used in the production of ethylene for making plastics, 
and detergents; 
it's also a ripening agent for foods, 
a refrigerant, 
a substance in producing welding gas 
and a primary ingredient in mustard gas.

Except for the last item: mustard gas, that's an impressive list of useful things to get from ethane.

We are planning to have a team of brilliant hardworking people at Titan, so we won't build any mustard gas.

How do you turn Ethane into Ethanal?
Ethane is a component in the natural gas methane and is removed by cryogenic liquefaction which should be real easy on Titan give the chilly -200 temp.

Good thing we have some brilliant chemists in the crew, because we are going to need them.

But here are some key things we'll have based on the gases on Titan:

Dish detergent
ripening agent for food, since there's no sun to help ripen our fruits and vegetables,
refrigeration to store our food,
the ability to store things like water in plastic bottles
and if the ship needs repair, we can weld booboos.

As for those dunes and their bolts of lightning, we may or may not wish to try and harness that power. Haven't decided. But it's very dangerous, so right now the equator is off limits.

If we can harness the electrostatic forces, then those dunes might make lovely homes for future generations. We'll have to see how it goes.

And there's one last item that may help or harm my people. It appears to me, that the "Moon" Pan is not any sort of moon, it is a space ship. A really huge space ship, and I can't ignore that. So I've got to decide what is in the spaceship, do they need help or are they just mining minerals. Are they humanoid, or octopuses.  But what Pan is not, is a moon. That, I am quite certain about.  And for those who are not sure where Pan is, it is a 'not a moon' that has created a gap in Saturns outer rings.  The gap is about 200 miles long and Pan, 'not a moon' is about 22 miles wide.
It is credited for making the 200 mile gap in the rings. 

Makes sense if it's a giant ship mining stuff, doesn't make sense if it's just an odd rock banging about in the space. And don't even get me started on the identical matching indentations on the ship's topside or the very thin fin, or the smooth surface of the fins, or the pentagon shape of the fins.

Well, enough thoughts on Titan for the night.


  1. Fun times ahead!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great info, Liza. Your story should be fascinating.

    1. I hope so. Now I just need to get my characters excited.

  3. Book 1 is written, but I couldn't write book 2 until NASA got better data. Now that I've gotten better data, I just need quiet time to write, but with gardening in the mornings and then publishing a book a month, I don't have much time. I wish I could warp time...


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