Sunday, August 3, 2008
read this interesting story on yahoo, and in it I realised that many of the things were chemistry-related. Apparently, this discovery was made by the US-European Cassini probe, the spacecraft that has been orbiting Saturn since 2004 following a 3.5 billion-kilometer (2.2 billion miles) voyage. The NASA people did some analysis to the instrument and realised that there was this large lake on Saturn that contained some liquid hydrocarbon and ethane. Hydrocarbons are long chains of molecules made of the elements carbon and hydrogen while ethane is simply a kind of hydrocarbon, made up of only 2 carbon atoms and 6 hydrogen atoms.
Though it had been long discovered that there were lakes on this moon, it had been not possible to ascertain whether it was liquid or solid before. It was with the use of this Cassini instrument that they were able to confirm that it was liquid, by analysing the Infra-red behaviour of the lake. NASA also concluded that the lake of ethane was actually evaporating. See from the picture below, the yellow moon-like thing is the hydrocarbon lake..
(picture courtesy of AFP.com)
So what amazes me is the wonders of technology! really nothing is impossible as technology advances! Science is becoming such a vast topic, and no longer restricted. Although I am not really sure what is so important to finding liquid on the surface of Saturn moon, it is apparently an exciting to the NASA people anyway. Probably finding anything usual on Earth becomes unusual outside Earth. So let's just be anticipated about the next new discovery!!
♥ UncleDon & AuntieVon Scribbled ♥