Teachers: Estevan Urdaneta and Julio Bermudez
Target: Titan's Lakes
Jean Elias,Ghazal Loze (team leader) Liceo Los Robles, Maracaibo
Miguel Blazquez Liceo Los Robles, Maracaibo
Francesco Gonnella (team leader)
Alejandro Vargas (team leader)
Isabel Delgado (team leader) Altamira, Maracaibo
Jose Bermudez Liceo Los Robles, Maracaibo
"The reason why we chose Objective 2 was because we read that NASA's Cassini spacecraft pinged the surface of Titan with microwaves, finding that some channels are deep, steep-sided canyons filled with liquid hydrocarbons lakes, varying in sizes from 20 km to 100.000 km. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI)
On Earth, water spends millions of years eroding rock to carve canyons and produce sedimentary rocks. We have read that the same process occurs on Titan. But instead of liquid water, the ice moon's canyons are full of liquid methane as stated by Dr. Alex Hayes of Cornell University. And recently we observed radar pictures of a magnificent river on Titan, also called the Nile River.
Amazingly, Titan has Earthlike processes like a rain cycle temperatures that hover around -290 degrees Fahrenheit. At those temperatures, any H2O on the surface would be hard as rock.
We read that when Cassini started bouncing radio signals off Titan's surface, the researchers were able to map out the canyons themselves and found that the bottoms of the features are remarkably flat and generally sit at the same level as the moon's seas.
We are great admirers of Dr. Rosaly Lopez. We have some of her videos here, and we have read that she has stated facts such as how liquid water behaves when it flows down a hill and how, over time, the hill beneath it is affected. But we can't ask what parts of the phenomenon are directly related to water's molecular makeup and which are inherent in the act of flowing. If liquid methane flows down a rocky hill, how does the process compare?
But on places like Titan, conditions are perfect for taking water out of the equation. In fact, some scientists have started playing with computer models to see how Titan's strange conditions might enable obscure molecules to form the building blocks of alien life,and she has stated that Titan is a natural laboratory. Based on all of these documented facts we decided that the best objective was Titans lakes."