Hydrocarbons rain from Titan's sky

Hundreds of times Earth’s oil reserves

13 Feb 08 – (Excerpts) – Saturn’s moon Titan “has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth,” says this article in Science Daily. “The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes.”

“Titan is just covered in carbon-bearing material—it’s a giant factory of organic chemicals,” said Ralph Lorenz, Cassini team member from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

“Several hundred lakes and seas have been observed, with each of several dozen estimated to contain more hydrocarbon liquid than Earth’s oil and gas reserves. The dark dunes that run along the equator contain a volume of organics several hundred times larger than Earth’s coal reserves.

“Proven reserves of natural gas on Earth total 130 thousand million tons, enough to provide 300 times the amount of energy the entire United States uses annually for residential heating, cooling and lighting. Dozens of Titan’s lakes individually have the equivalent of at least this much energy in the form of methane and ethane.”

See entire article:

Thanks to Richard Lacaba for this link

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

For images of the lakes and more information, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

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