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2005-01-22 Home Front: Tech
Titan 'a flammable world'
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Posted by God Save The World 2005-01-22 00:00:00 AM|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [399 views since 2007-05-07]  Top

#1 Yesterday it was alleged by an insider that channel failure was human error.
Posted by Dishman  2005-01-22 12:15:57 AM||   2005-01-22 12:15:57 AM|| Front Page Top

#2 Huygen's designers should have rigged up a cigarette lighter flint to be struck after all planned experiments were done, just to see how flammable the place really is.
Posted by Bomb-a-rama 2005-01-22 12:31:02 AM||   2005-01-22 12:31:02 AM|| Front Page Top

#3 I don't get it.

How can this stuff be considered flammable if there's no oxidizer present to react with?

(I can imagine aliens from Titans describing Earth's atmosphere as highly flammable).
Posted by Phil Fraering 2005-01-22 12:39:54 AM|| [http://newsfromthefridge.typepad.com]  2005-01-22 12:39:54 AM|| Front Page Top

#4 Exactly, Phil. To them we would be fire-breathing creatures from a combustible planet where it rained the equivalent of molten lead.
Posted by Atomic Conspiracy 2005-01-22 12:49:05 AM||   2005-01-22 12:49:05 AM|| Front Page Top

#5 The NewScientist had a somewhat more extensive quote from Owen that makes it sound less nutty:
"It means there's methane near the surface," says Owen, "Titan is a flammable world." But all the oxygen is trapped in ice. "That's a good thing, or Titan would have exploded a long time ago."
Still a silly thing for him to say. . .
Posted by James  2005-01-22 12:51:25 AM|| [http://idontknowbut.blogspot.com]  2005-01-22 12:51:25 AM|| Front Page Top

#6 It is conceivable that there are processes that would produce free oxygen on Titan, just as there are processes that produce free methane on Earth.
Posted by Atomic Conspiracy 2005-01-22 12:53:34 AM||   2005-01-22 12:53:34 AM|| Front Page Top

#7 ... and on Titan, the oxygen would burn in much the same way methane burns here..
once it got going, anyway.
Posted by Dishman  2005-01-22 1:08:41 AM||   2005-01-22 1:08:41 AM|| Front Page Top

#8 How can this stuff be considered flammable if there's no oxidizer present to react with?

I read his statement to mean that normally, on Earth, this kind of stuff would be flammable (he should have said 'inflammable' but let's not split hairs).
Posted by Rafael 2005-01-22 2:41:25 AM||   2005-01-22 2:41:25 AM|| Front Page Top

#9 Yes,but what is Titan's LEL(lower explosive limit),UEL(upper explosive limit).LEL:the lowest ratio of O2/methane that will sustain combustion.
UEL:The point at wich the ratio is to rich to combust
Posted by Raptor 2005-01-22 8:06:21 AM||   2005-01-22 8:06:21 AM|| Front Page Top

#10 That's what I was thinking Raptor. I wonder how hard it would be to "harvest" all this stuff to supply heating and other fuel needs fo future space exploration. There are a lot of good building blocks in methane and natural gas.
Posted by Deacon Blues  2005-01-22 9:42:15 AM||   2005-01-22 9:42:15 AM|| Front Page Top

#11 Hands off Titan!
Posted by Shipman 2005-01-22 10:25:44 AM||   2005-01-22 10:25:44 AM|| Front Page Top

#12 Soon to be named the 5,865th holiest place in Islam...the lost colony of al-Titani.
Posted by Seafarious  2005-01-22 10:53:11 AM||   2005-01-22 10:53:11 AM|| Front Page Top

#13 I thought we weren't supposed to land on Europa. Titan is where the Puppet Masters are from.
Posted by Deacon Blues  2005-01-22 11:30:20 AM||   2005-01-22 11:30:20 AM|| Front Page Top

#14 Curious. The photo is full of rounded rocks, of a couple of distinct size ranges. Must have been rolled around and banged into each other to knock the edges off. High velocity methane rivers into alluvial fans? Must be some mountains nearby then. So what made the mountains? Titanic plate tectonics?
Can't wait to see more. Planetary geology (between this and the Mars Rovers) hasn't had this much new stuff to play with since the moon landings and the Mars Viking mission.
Posted by Glenmore  2005-01-22 11:43:52 AM||   2005-01-22 11:43:52 AM|| Front Page Top

#15 Deacon- If you've got the technology to harvest and ship from Titan in meaningful quantities, there are a lot of other power options available.

Construction materials for solar power satellites have a lot more bang for the buck.

I'm not saying it's a bad question, though.
Posted by Dishman  2005-01-22 2:53:09 PM||   2005-01-22 2:53:09 PM|| Front Page Top

#16 Glenmore... IIUC, Earth and Io are the only bodies in the system with active tectonics.
Posted by Dishman  2005-01-22 2:59:33 PM||   2005-01-22 2:59:33 PM|| Front Page Top

#17  "Titan is a flammable world." But all the oxygen is trapped in ice. "That's a good thing, or Titan would have exploded a long time ago." . . .


So if we nuked it that would free some oxygen and the planet blows up? KABOOM
Posted by Bill Nelson 2005-01-22 3:26:25 PM||   2005-01-22 3:26:25 PM|| Front Page Top

#18 lo end/high end flammable limits for methane is 5-15% in air. We're lucky that the atmosphere is not ethylene oxide, heh heh. Universe's largest thermobaric bomb.
Posted by Alaska Paul  2005-01-22 3:35:08 PM||   2005-01-22 3:35:08 PM|| Front Page Top

#19 Dishman: We don't know if Titan has active tectonics. This is the first look we've gotten at it.
Says here in the CRC that methane is soluble in water. Maybe somebody who knows more chemistry can say if methane ices form at these pressures. Probably some form below the surface, where methane trickles deep underground the way water does here. Hmm. Release pressure==> release gas; methane ice volcanoes? I don't know if we could identify puffs in the atmosphere from volcanoes, but if so then local warm upwellings of gas might be an indicator for tectonic activity.
Posted by James  2005-01-22 4:19:24 PM|| [http://idontknowbut.blogspot.com]  2005-01-22 4:19:24 PM|| Front Page Top

#20 Deacon, I must be the only one who got your comment--I loved that book. Heinlein rules!
Posted by mary 2005-01-22 4:33:53 PM||   2005-01-22 4:33:53 PM|| Front Page Top

#21 Glenmore is right about the rocks. To me, they resemble glacial moraines more than alluvial deposits, ground to uniform size and smoothness under some sort of solid or semi-solid flow.
Posted by Atomic Conspiracy 2005-01-22 6:16:44 PM||   2005-01-22 6:16:44 PM|| Front Page Top

#22 "All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there."

Anyone report a large monolith lying on its side deep in the methane ocean there?

(Arthur C Clarke predicting the methane sea on Europa in his followups to 2001 A Space Odessey)
Posted by OldSpook 2005-01-22 11:19:25 PM||   2005-01-22 11:19:25 PM|| Front Page Top

#23 Anyone report a large monolith lying on its side deep in the methane ocean there?

You mean the one making the sound: "EEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEee...
eeeeeeEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEE"?
Posted by AJackson 2005-01-22 11:27:33 PM||   2005-01-22 11:27:33 PM|| Front Page Top

#24 "All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there."

Anyone report a large monolith lying on its side deep in the methane ocean there?

(Arthur C Clarke predicting the methane sea on Europa in his followups to 2001 A Space Odessey)
Posted by OldSpook 2005-01-22 11:19:25 PM||   2005-01-22 11:19:25 PM|| Front Page Top

#25 Off-topic or abusive comments deleted]
Posted by OldSpook 2005-01-22 11:19:25 PM||   2005-01-22 11:19:25 PM|| Front Page Top

20:24 Atomic Conspiracy
20:24 Atomic Conspiracy
00:19 ed
23:59 anonymous2u
23:58 Cromorong Choque7321
23:54 Mike Sylwester
23:50 JAB
23:30 ed
23:30 liberalhawk
23:30 Alaska Paul
23:27 Xbalanke
23:27 AJackson
23:25 Alaska Paul
23:24 AJackson
23:23 AJackson
23:19 OldSpook
23:19 Alaska Paul
23:14 Alaska Paul
23:05 Alaska Paul
22:48 Mike Sylwester
22:47 Mike Sylwester
22:32 Snoluck Thrusing8432
22:22 lex
22:16 Captain America
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