Getting Ready in the Morning
Dragonfly – Mission to Titan (2026)
Saturn’s largest moon is an exceptional environment in our Solar System. With its methane-filled lakes, icy volcanoes, and underground caves, it seems worlds apart from our own Earth. But the first geomorphological map of Titan reveals that while its landscape is incredibly impressive and diverse, these factors actually make it strangely similar to Earth.
Other than Earth, Titan is the only other body in the Solar System that is known to have stable liquid on its surface. But unlike Earth, Titan’s lakes, rivers, and seas are made up of the liquid methane and ethane that rain down from its clouds. Titan is also the only moon with a substantial atmosphere and dense-enough air to allow a person to walk through its rough landscape without a spacesuit to weigh them down (although what with the methane rain and lakes, you would have some other hazards to contend with…).
The Dragonfly Mission will use a rotorcraft (sort of a octo-rotor affair) to explore Titan, collect samples and return them to Earth.
The first Map of Titan
If Betelgeuse becomes a supernova, what will it be seen from Earth?
Astronomers believe that Betelgeuse has about 20 solar masses, but it could be as little as 15, and our observations from other massive stars like this suggest that if they have up to 15 of 16 solar masses explode when they are in red super phase giant.
That leads to an explosion that remains roughly the same glow for about three months before it fades away.
What would we have left after Betelgeuse becomes supernova?
Orion, the hunter’s left shoulder, would no longer exist, although anyone with a telescope, and certainly space telescopes, would be treated with a vision similar to a supernova residue as the unusually brilliant Crab Nebula.
This remarkable row of 13 craters so together over the moon of Jupiter Ganymede’s was photographed by the Galileo space probe in 1997. The photograph covers an area of about 200 km wide and the crater chain crosses a defined border between dark and light terrain.
During the exploration of the Solar System, crater chains like this have been discovered in several places. They were considered a mystery until the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet offered us an exciting lesson. In 1994, many inhabitants of planet Earth observed how massive pieces of this broken asteroid were launched inside Jupiter in a spectacular series of back-to-back impacts.
Similarly broken asteroids in the early history of the Solar System are most likely responsible for this and other crater chains.