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Astonishing photograph

Discussion in 'Personal' started by les25paul, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    A few weeks ago I bought Brian Cox's Planet book for about 12 quid in Tesco. In it was this stunning photo taken from the Cassini mission to Saturn.


    It shows the moon Enceladus on the horizon of Saturn. To put it bluntly thats an alien moon over an alien planet. More astonishing was the text on Enceladus, To cut it short and not bore the non-science geeks, it is covered in glaciers, from these glaciers there are plumes of "something". To find out what they were Cassini took a detour and some samples, they contained Salt water with traces of organic compounds, which to a Biochemist/Biological means the precursor to life.

    Now comes the "thoughtful" part. Cassini was soon to run out of petrol (or whatever it ran on) to find out more the scientists could end its days on Encedadus, but they considered that this might present a danger to any life on the moon so crashed in into Saturn instead. Interesting how some people don't care much about the Earth's ecosystems whilst others will even care about those on another world.

    Well I was "gobsmacked" even if no one else is.
  2. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

  3. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    The propellant fuel it used was hydrazine which, although toxic, would not have caused much of a danger. The real problem was the 33 kg of plutonium-238 (in the form of plutonium dioxide) used by the satellite to generate electricity.
    les25paul likes this.
  4. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Interesting that they were concerned about Encedadus .... but not concerned for any life/potential life in the atmosphere of Saturn.

    Parts of Saturn's upper atmosphere are quite Earth-like.
    les25paul likes this.
  5. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I don't think there is any serious likelihood of life on Saturn itself, only on its moons
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    They were concerned about any Earth micro-organisms that might have hitched a ride on Cassini and as unlikely as it sounds might have survived the journey.
  7. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Maybe not life as we presently understand it...
    nomad, les25paul and primarycat like this.
  8. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    "Its life, Jim, but not as we know it!"
    agathamorse and lanokia like this.
  9. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    There is now likely to be life on our moon - tardigrades.
    I love tardigrades.
    lanokia and agathamorse like this.
  10. Laphroig

    Laphroig Lead commenter

    Don’t use a tardigrade to interface with the spore drive. It’s cruel.
    Trekkie likes this.
  11. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I'm a trifle worried that I get that reference!
    Trekkie and Marshall like this.
  12. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    The 'crash' was a controlled flight into Saturn's outer atmosphere intended to incinerate the spacecraft completely. If Cassini were just abandoned or programmed to self-destruct once fuel had run out, there would be a chance of all, or parts of it, reaching parts of the system that are protected (i.e. moons that have, or could develop to have, conditions conducive to life). Obviously it can't be proven whether any of Cassini or its radioactivity reached the planet itself, however the view that Saturn is considered not conducive to life made this decision a more viable option.

    I think I also read that it was the same rationale that had the Huygens probe land on Titan rather than Enceladus. Titan was thought not likely to have life possibilities, but Enceladus was believed to. In fact it seems that the assumptions about Titan were incorrect and it showed greater (or less impossible) indicators of life -forming conditions than previously thought.
    les25paul likes this.
  13. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

  14. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    And yet when I use that excuse I'm told to stop being silly...

    One little accident! ;)
  15. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    I didn’t know you were so well travelled!:cool:
  16. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Since Chronos was sometimes seen as Saturn Robert Graves might have described the picture as Chronos and one of his balls. I have checked up which is why the first fifteen words are there.
  17. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Saturn's moon Enceladus was named by Herschel's son after an Ancient Greek mythological giant, whose bronze statue can be found in the gardens of Versailles:
    According to legend, the giant Enceladus was buried under a volcano, where his bound and bruised body was condemned to breathe forth endless sulphur clouds from its burning wounds, hence his agony portrayed by the statue.
    les25paul likes this.
  18. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Fear of pedants really knocks attempts at humour.
  19. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Why have I missed that?

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