Saturday, June 6, 2009

Landing craft sends back first pictures of extraterrestrial liquid


As if landing a probe on one of Saturn's moons wasn't amazing enough, now we find out the tiny Huygens craft sent back the first pictures of an extraterrestrial liquid ever taken. After Huygens was launched from its mother ship, the space probe Cassini, it landed on Saturnian moon Titan, and drops of methane formed on the landing craft, resulting in these pictures.

See those little arrows in the picture on the right? They point out the droplets of methane that weren't there a few seconds before. These are remarkable pics, but we wish Huygens had gotten a shot of Saturn's rings from Titan's surface.

Titan is said to resemble Earth in its early years, with wispy clouds and lakes of liquid methane, which scientists think could harbor life. It's not very hospitable there, with incredibly cold temperatures and 470mph winds, so any life there must be awfully tough.

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