November 24, 2004

The Clouds of Titan

Cassini continues to amaze as this item called Hovering Over Titan shows.

"A mosaic of nine processed images recently acquired during Cassini's first very close flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on October 26, 2004 constitutes the most detailed full-disk view yet made of the mysterious moon...." -- Ciclops

The image above echoes in the mind. We know it is impossibly cold down there. We know the atmosphere is a lethal smog of nitrogen, methane, and ethane. We know that the seas shimmering in the faint light of the distant sun are liquid methane.

All these things we know and yet, from this image sent back to us by our instruments, there is somehow the shock of recognition. Unlike any other planet or moon we've seen in our brief glimpse of the solar system, this image and this image alone sends an echo. It resembles, despite what we know about it, nothing so much as the Earth itself, and that resemblance alone causes the soul to rise. For if a moon of Saturn can resemble our own planet, it signals that somewhere, perhaps very far away or perhaps not all that far, there is another planet where the resemblance is more than an echo, but a mirror image.

Posted by Vanderleun at November 24, 2004 3:04 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.


Posted by: Anthony at November 24, 2004 7:22 PM

The dark area isn't liquid, but it may be organic material expelled by volcanism. There is much we don't know yet. But we can still dream.

Posted by: lmg at November 25, 2004 6:08 AM

unless they have acid for blood

Posted by: Ripley at November 26, 2004 1:20 AM