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Monday, August 14, 2006

Saturn's Moon Emits Titanic Fart

Last week, scientists discovered lakes on the surface of Titan, the largest moon orbiting Saturn, and the second largest in our entire solar system. But before you put on your bathing suit and gear up for a cannonball, read the warning sign: These lakes aren’t made of water.

NASA's Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, which is orbiting Saturn as we speak (type?), has helped to confirm scientists’ long-held theories about Titan’s atmospheric makeup. Titan’s atmosphere has a high percentage of methane and ethane gases, which together create a dense, smog-like cover that rains these chemicals in liquid form. The result: lakes and tributaries that don’t invite swimming.

Methane, by the way, is one of the odorless gases the produces flatulence. Just in case you still were thinking about dipping a toe in …


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