When contemplating where the space ship mining Saturn's ring calls home, I have to consider Boyajian's Star. 

The reason is simple. The star seems to dim in ways that is like no other star.  

Thus, serious scientists are considering the possibility that there is a planet which is capturing the sun's light and converting it into energy.

That implies sentient beings exist on the planet with technology far beyond ours.  

Right now, we simply don't know enough to say if that is what is going on. What we do know is NONE of the other possibilities that have been considered seem viable.

So I'm conscripting the planet as home-base for the ship mining minerals in Saturn's disk. (What we've been calling a moon: PAN) They have to live somewhere when not mining minerals from Saturn.

Now I have some of them spending their time on Titan, which is oddly much older than Saturn, but then so might the planet containing the energy of the Boyajian's Star be older as well.

Technically, they seem to be far beyond us. So they may be able to transport entire planets on their whim.

If so, then it is highly likely, they will be methane based rather than water based sentients.

It makes sense given methane based sentients would prefer much colder climates (-290 F) than water based sentients. (Methane needs to be really cold to be a liquid. It boils at -257.8 F.  Thus, the temperature of Titan may be regulated to ensure methane life can survive.

While it is likely they are harnessing their sun's power and converting it to other sources, it is also possible they are just trying to cool down their planet so it does not self-destruct as Earth does in Destination: Titan.

system. This video uses actual images taken by the probe during its two-and-a-half hour fall under its parachutes.
 ESA's Huygens probe made its descent to the surface of Saturn's hazy moon, Titan. Carried to Saturn by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, Huygens made the most distant landing ever on another world, and the only landing on a body in the outer solar

"The Huygens descent and landing represented a major breakthrough in our exploration of Titan as well as the first soft landing on an outer-planet moon. It completely changed our understanding of this haze-covered ocean world."
-- Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

"The Huygens images were everything our images from orbit were not. Instead of hazy, sinuous features that we could only guess were streams and drainage channels, here was incontrovertible evidence that at some point in Titan's history -- and perhaps even now -- there were flowing liquid hydrocarbons on the surface. Huygens' images became a Rosetta stone for helping us interpret our subsequent findings on Titan."
-- Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team lead at Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado

"Cassini and Huygens have shown us that Titan is an amazing world with a landscape that mimics Earth in many ways. During its descent, the Huygens probe captured views that demonstrated an entirely new dimension to that comparison and highlights that there is so much more we have yet to discover. For me, Huygens has emphasized why it is so important that we continue to explore Titan."
-- Alex Hayes, a Cassini scientist at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

"Twelve years ago, a small probe touched down on an orangish, alien world in the outer solar system, marking humankind's most distant landing to date. Studying Titan helps us tease out the potential of habitability of this tiny world and better understand the chemistry of the early Earth."
-- Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters, Washington


Floating high above the hydrocarbon lakes, wispy clouds have finally started to return to Titan's northern latitudes. Clouds like these disappeared from Titan's (3,200 miles or 5,150 kilometers across) northern reaches for several years (from about 2010 to 2014). Now they have returned, but in far smaller numbers than expected. Since clouds can quickly appear and disappear, Cassini scientists regularly monitor the large moon, in the hopes of observing cloud activity. They are especially interested in comparing these observations to predictions of how cloud cover should change with Saturn’s seasons. Titan’s clear skies are not what researchers expected.

Cassini's "T120" and "T121" flybys of Titan, on June 7 and July 25, 2016, respectively, provided views of high northern latitudes over extended time periods -- more than 24 hours during both flybys. Intriguingly, the ISS and VIMS observations appear strikingly different from each other. In the ISS observations (monochrome image at top), surface features are easily identifiable and only a few small, isolated clouds were detected. In contrast, the VIMS observations (color image at bottom) suggest widespread cloud cover during both flybys. The observations were made over the same time period, so differences in illumination geometry or changes in the clouds themselves are unlikely to be the cause for the apparent discrepancy: VIMS shows persistent atmospheric features over the entire observation period and ISS consistently detects surface features with just a few localized clouds.

The answer to what could be causing the discrepancy appears to lie with Titan's hazy atmosphere, which is much easier to see through at the longer infrared wavelengths that VIMS is sensitive to (up to 5 microns) than at the shorter, near-infrared wavelength used by ISS to image Titan's surface and lower atmosphere (0.94 microns). High, thin cirrus clouds that are optically thicker than the atmospheric haze at longer wavelengths, but optically thinner than the haze at the shorter wavelength of the ISS observations, could be detected by VIMS and simultaneously lost in the haze to ISS -- similar to trying to see a thin cloud layer on a hazy day on Earth. This phenomenon has not been seen again since July 2016, but Cassini has several more opportunities to observe Titan over the last months of the mission in 2017, and scientists will be watching to see if and how the weather changes.

As southern winter solstice approaches in the Saturn system, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been revealing dramatic seasonal changes in the atmospheric temperature and composition of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

Winter is taking a grip on Titan's southern hemisphere, and a strong, whirling atmospheric circulation pattern -- a vortex -- has developed in the upper atmosphere over the south pole. Cassini has observed that this vortex is enriched in trace gases -- gases that are otherwise quite rare in Titan's atmosphere. Cassini's observations show a reversal in the atmosphere above Titan's poles since the spacecraft arrived at Saturn in 2004, when similar features were seen in the northern hemisphere.

graphic in green, blue, orange and purple
Scientists from NASA’s Cassini mission think the appearance of a cloud of dicyanoacetylene (C4N2) ice in Titan’s stratosphere is explained by “solid-state” chemistry taking place inside ice particles. The particles have an inner layer of cyanoacetylene (HC3N) ice coated with an outer layer of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) ice. (Left) When a photon of light penetrates the outer shell, it can interact with the HC3N, producing C3N and H. (Center) The C3N then reacts with HCN to yield (right) C4N2 and H. Another reaction that also yields C4N2 ice and H also is possible, but less likely. "The compositions of the polar stratospheres of Titan and Earth could not differ more," said Michael Flasar, CIRS principal investigator at Goddard. "It is amazing to see how well the underlying physics of both atmospheres has led to analogous cloud chemistry."

Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

And why have I fixated on Titan?

In 2018, I will begin a new series:

Both Earth and Titan have nitrogen-dominated atmospheres -- over 95 percent nitrogen in Titan's case. However, unlike Earth, Titan has very little oxygen; the rest of the atmosphere is mostly methane and trace amounts of other gases, including ethane. And at the frigid temperatures found at Saturn's great distance from the sun, the methane and ethane can exist on the surface in liquid form.
For this reason, scientists had long speculated about the possible existence of hydrocarbon lakes and seas on Titan, and data from the NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission does not disappoint. Since arriving in the Saturn system in 2004, the Cassini spacecraft has revealed that more than 620,000 square miles (1.6 million square kilometers) of Titan's surface -- almost two percent of the total -- are covered in liquid. 
There are three large seas, all located close to the moon's north pole, surrounded by numerous of smaller lakes in the northern hemisphere. Just one large lake has been found in the southern hemisphere.
The exact composition of these liquid reservoirs remained elusive until 2014, when the Cassini radar instrument was first used to show that Ligeia Mare, the second largest sea on Titan and similar in size to Lake Huron and Lake Michigan combined, is methane-rich. A new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, which used the radar instrument in a different mode, independently confirms this result.  

How to make oxygen on Titan

There are five known ways oxygen can be created:

1) Photosynthesis,

The most common natural method is photo-synthesis, in which plants use sunlight convert carbon dioxide in the air into oxygen.

2) Oxygen starved Bacteria (is the latest new way).

In 2010, a team of scientist found that bacteria could consume methane and were producing oxygen by a previously unknown biochemical process. In the presence of nitrates there was no consumption of methane, but when nitrites were added, the bacteria consumed methane and released nitrogen. The microbiologists proposed the bacteria produce nitrogen and oxygen from two molecules of nitric oxide, which in turn is produced from the nitrites. The oxygen would then be used to burn the methane for energy, with the nitrogen released as a waste product. The enzyme or enzymes used in the process are so far unknown.

x3) The most common commercial method for producing oxygen is the separation of air using either a cryogenic distillation process or a vacuum swing adsorption process. Nitrogen and argon are also produced by separating them from air.

4) Oxygen can also be produced as the result of a chemical reaction in which oxygen is freed from a chemical compound and becomes a gas. This method is used to generate limited quantities of oxygen for life support on submarines, aircraft, and spacecraft.

5) Hydrogen and oxygen can be generated by passing an electric current through water and collecting the two gases as they bubble off. Hydrogen forms at the negative terminal and oxygen at the positive terminal. This method is called electrolysis and produces very pure hydrogen and oxygen. It uses a large amount of electrical energy, however, and is not economical for large-volume production.
Note: Oxygen is reactive and will form oxides with all other elements except the noble gases: helium, neon, argon and krypton.

A molecule of methane consists of 4 hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom. To burn, you need two O2 molecules. The burning looks like:
CH4 + 2 02 -> CO2 * 2H2O

The process gives off energy (that means the molecules will have high velocity and heat up the surroundings, perhaps triggering other methane and oxygen molecules to combine.)

Thus, methane can be used to create CO2 & Water. Water can then be drunk or used to make Oxygen.
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.

Seriously, does this look like a moon? Notice the smoothness of the exterior wings, the pentagon shape, the scars over perfectly indented sections on the top.

These pics come directly from Cassini via the NASA site.

If that is a spaceship, it's a 12-mile wide spaceship. So there is no way anyone on earth made it.

There used to be a movie taken from 22 pictures, but it seems to have been removed now. But they have left us a few pics...

Whoever made this ship, built it to be sturdy and long lasting. 

The tiny 'object/spacecraft' Pan has managed to clear out a 168-mile wide path in Saturn's ring. Were they mineral mining? Is it possible they still are? Some of the ship's fins look to be in bad shape, but the ship itself appears to be in good shape.  Yes, there are scars on its top, but not sufficiently to break it open.

Is it possible they wait for rescue while they continue their job?

Pan was first seen in the 1980-1981 shots by Voyager.
It wasn't seen again until 2004 by Cassini
And now again when Cassini takes a closeup on March 7, 2017 giving us the best pics so far, and the greatest evidence that this is NOT A MOON.

But here is the 'It's a moon' theory:

"Pan looks so messed-up because it actually orbits within a gap in Saturn’s famous rings. As it circles around in that narrow strip, Pan draws in bits of the material and debris that make up the rings with its own meager gravity, and these new additions pile up around the moon’s waist, so to speak."

Keep in mind that the gap is 168 miles and Pan is 12 miles wide. So that very smooth pentagon fin that wraps around it is just "Additions piling up around it's waist."   

To be fair, NASA isn't saying this. It isn't saying anything about PAN's odd shape that I can find. INVERSE said this. Still, I suspect some NASA person said this when being forced to explain the oddity to INVERSE.


Liza contemplates the occupants of PAN, the 'not a moon' space ship.

Clearly, Pan was/is mining minerals, but it is a bit battered. The flat fins on side of the huge ship have been curved down, while the other side has thin fins.

1st Issues:
Is the ship still functional?
Are there sentient beings alive inside?
If so, are they still mining or are they waiting for rescue?
Or are the all dead and the ship remains in the 168 mile-wide opening in Saturn's rings?

The ship is over 16 miles long-that's a huge ship! Thus, in my opinion,  it's more likely, the sentient beings are alive and they are still mining the ring. While they might require  repairs to occur before they return to their planet, presently, they seem to be able to safely maneuver as they mine the ring.

2) What are they mining? 
 According to NASA

Saturn's rings are made primarily of water ice. Since pure water ice is white, it is believed that different colors in the rings reflect different amounts of contamination by other materials such as rock or carbon compounds. 

Yeah, not much help. But clearly, the ship is in the darker, more contaminated section A. 

Given zero guidance as to what minerals, rocks, or compounds that might be out there, I'm going to have to just make it up.

So I'm going to have them mine meteorites for diamonds, magnetic iron, hematites, and crystals which are highly prized on their planet and other planets.

3) Issue 3: How often do they go home?

Every rotation of the sun is the equivalent of 29.4 earth years.

They jump to their planet whenever the ship is full. That's usually about one earth month, give or take a year, depending on what they are mining at the time.

We've noticed what appears to be their absences, but we just assumed our telescopes failed to locate it. Being so far from earth, it has been easy to lose.
In fact, we believed Pan was a planet before the Casini pics were taken, giving us our first up close and shocking pics.  Still, you never heard the word spaceship from NASA.

4) What do the sentients inside look like.

Here are some options:
The most rational expectation is a sentient without any bones, that can live in a liquid, (In this case methane). 

 But that means no romance with the critters on the alien ship.
So here are some other options.
This is a methane based guy who has eyes that focus individually, which will take some use to. His nose is broad as well, for better sniffing.

Now this captain is a humanoid. It's what we'll look like a hundred years from now if we lived on a ship in space.
She'll be a helpful captain...unless she learns we killed our captain...that might make her a big worried.  (We did kill our captain, that's already written.)
He wanted to be God. I had to kill him.

Here's an evil looking methane based alien from methane lake or perhaps from the ship. While he looks evil, he  could be nice too. Looks can be deceiving.

Here's two metalic  aliens. One with eyes, one without. (I like the one with eyes.) They might consume iron, which is why they are mining Saturn's rings. They are definitely from the ship. And they are hard bodies. 

Then there is Methane man, who could live in the lake and isn't happy we are converting methane into water and CO2.
He is soft, so don't hit him.

and final there is rock man!  

Rock Man doesn't have to be methane based. He could be a miner from the ship. Or that could be his suit, and he could be a little guy inside...rather like the frail female captain.

So, which do you like best. 
Give me some of your ideas. My brain is going in too many directions!

Thanks for stopping by. I wanted to share with you more facts I've uncovered about Titan.

Here's my favorite fact: 

There is strong evidence that Titan is not originally from our Solar System. Our Solar System is not old enough for Titan’s nitrogen isotope ratio to have changed as much as it has. It seems more similar to Oort cloud comets than to Solar System bodies. (PS. The oort cloud is hypothetical, but still they think this STRONG evidence.) 

Personally, I love this strong hypothetical evidence. 

Why? Because it opens up so many angles for my novel. 

We already have a space ship calling itself the moon PAN mining the outer gap of Saturn's disc. But Cassini has up-close pictures and it's an 18 mile wide space ship.

So here's a thought: when they sent the spaceship to Saturn, did they also send a planet from the elusive Oort Cloud so their species could get off the ship and take a leave when needed? 

Sounds reasonable to me.

And if they are methane based people, then they'll want it really cold. Otherwise, they will become vaporous.

So I expect the sentients like really cold vacation spots. It's -290 degress on Titan, give or take a bit depending which pole you prefer. The south pole is warmer, but the North Pole has more lakes....METHANE lakes. But that makes sense.
For a sentient creature to evolve, they need liquid flowing through their body. Not a problem. While on earth our methane is a gas, on Titan, it is so cold that methane is mostly a liquid. 

Thus, life on Titan, and the people in the giant ship are likely to be methane-based rather than water based. The only reason why my human people can survive on Titan is because they "live" on their ship, and when they go out, they wear a climate controlled suit with a clear face shield. 

They considered just wearing a mouth and nose mask since the air pressure is actually heavier than earth's, so no chance of an exploding head. However, a mask would still be a freezingly bad idea. It seems wiser to have the suit protect them from freezing or suffocating. 

And since the air pressure is actually heavier than on earth,  no will explode out of their skin, even if the suit gets a tear. 

Okay, that wouldn't happen, but they could die quickly if they don't get the suit patched up. Their skin could freeze & die, or they could lose their oxygen and suffocate.

Titan is like (and unlike) earth...
Titan has a global circulation pattern in which warm air in the summer hemisphere wells up from the surface and enters the stratosphere, slowly making its way to the winter pole. There, the air mass sinks back down, cooling as it descends, which allows the stratospheric methane clouds to form.

(It's rather like earth except for the ingredients involved.)

Gravity is only 14% of Earth’s gravity.
Which means you need to look out for the high winds!!! It could blow you into a lake of methane. This is why I have my peeps, especially the kids wear heavy boots. It's not that I think they'll 'float' away, but rather fly away due to the wind.

But hold on. With the gravity so low, the winds crossing the lakes should create massive waves, but Cassini found the lakes to be flat...what's up?

Here's my theory:
There are other liquids in the lake, not just methane and some of these liquids rise to the top and create a thick, almost, but not quite rubbery covering that keeps the wind from lifting all the methane into the air, where it would fall back as frozen rain.

While some methane does escape into the air, most remains safely uynder the natural tarp it has over it.

This will become an issue soon for my people, because they need to create water and oxygen from the methane. (Yep, that can be done)
Methane can be transformed into C20 and H2O (real water). Then through electrolysis, H2O can be turned into Oxygen and Hydrogen.

And a few other interest facts:

Sunlight is only 1% of Earth’s Sun’s intensity
and by the time it gets through the haze of the planet, it can be .1%. Clearly, head-lights must be worn whatever time of the day you step out

Over time, humans will alter. Based on our space station analysis, they incur changes even in a single year.

However, much of the issues of swelling heads and squishy eyes is due to the blood gathering in the head in zero gravity Space.

Luckily, Titan has a bit of gravity (14% of earth's gravity) plus a heavier atmosphere (which is presently unbreathable). So the impact of swollen head might take longer to develop, but the gravity is significantly less, so it should still occur. 

That means we'll eventually look like this:

Yep...that'll be fun, won't it?

To be honest, she looks kind to me. I think it's the soft blue squishy eyes that makes me think she's gentle and sweet.

This series will be released in 2018,
if I live that long. With Trump, who knows...
Book 1 is written, 
Book 2 is currently being written.
I had to wait many years to work on book 2 because frankly, I needed accurate data about Titan first.

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