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  1. #1
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    200 Mile Long River on Titan is Filled with Flowing Hydrocarbons, not Water

    NASA scientists have discovered a 200 mile long Nile-like river on Titan, one of Saturn's moons.

    "Titan is the only other world we know of that has stable liquid on its surface," Jia-Rui Cook of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab writes. "While Earth's hydrologic cycle relies on water, Titan's equivalent cycle involves hydrocarbons such as ethane and methane."

    This means that the river is actually full of, not water, but hydrocarbons.

    The river stretches more than 200 miles from its "headwaters" to a large sea, which is also likely made of raw hydrocarbons.

  2. #2
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    We must put these types of rivers off limits to all plunderers of the solar system!

  3. #3
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    Maybe if we burn all the methane clathrates we will have to go there to get the raw materials for our plastics.

  4. #4
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    I once read that if pure gold bars were discovered in large quantity in low earth orbit, it would not be economic to go and fetch them.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan View Post
    I once read that if pure gold bars were discovered in large quantity in low earth orbit, it would not be economic to go and fetch them.
    Not with today's technology, but with a KITE launcher/HASTOL system, maybe so.
    Last edited by KitemanSA; 01-01-2013 at 09:33 PM.

  6. #6
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    Is the idea that we go and fetch more hydrocarbons from the other end of the solar system? we better go and find some oxygen to burn it with as well, and we also need a place to hide the CO2 produced.

  7. #7
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    Here's a short piece about the HASTOL system: "The system consists of three main elements that include – an air-breathing subsonic to hypersonic airplane that will take astronauts or the satellite to an intermediate point between the earth and the orbit. Next is the grapple system that will grip the payload from the airplane and hand it over to the tether system. The tether system will rely on Earth’s gravity or its electromagnetic energy to slingshot the payload at orbital speeds. This momentum-exchange tether will allow the energy and momentum to be transferred between objects in space, allowing the system to toss a spacecraft from one orbit to another."
    http://www.ecofriend.com/hastol-conc...-to-space.html

    So whoever wrote that isn't sure about whether it's gravitational forces or electromagnetic forces that will slingshot the payload, or whether the energy comes from fuel in the craft. Maybe there is some more up to date or better technical information about it? the energy/momentum balance-sheet is the most important item.

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  9. #9
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    OK, I saw those as well but thanks for the links and they are a bit better written.

    I notice the first one is dated 1999, so the question must be asked what progress has this idea made in the last 14 years?

    The other two have an interesting word in the title . . . that little word 'Grant' In other words they are pitching for funds rather than making a scientific case. They seem to be dated 2001.

    If this was a serious idea it would be a bit more convincing to have a document available that is less than ten years old - are there any around? They also say that the launcher will weigh three thousand tons
    Last edited by Alan; 01-02-2013 at 11:39 AM.

  10. #10
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    The company has taken a different tack of late and has not been working on launch tethers. That may be partially my fault in that I haven't pushed KITE-launch as a much cheaper replacement for the very large hypersonic aircraft.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-roc...pheric_tethers