Offworld Hydro/Cryothermal Phenomena

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Offworld Hydro/Cryothermal Phenomena

Postby Darby on March 11th, 2015, 4:18 pm 

Thought I'd kick off a thread to house some of the discussions underway about some of the plumes spotted on places like Enceladus, Europa, and Titan.

Most recent article of relevance:

Spacecraft Data Suggest Saturn Moon's Ocean May Harbor Hydrothermal Activity (11-Mar-2015)

Moon: Enceladus (Saturnian Moon)

In brief, the cassini probe took innumerable pictures of methane plumes erupting from Enceladus a few years back, and various scientists have been pouring over the data and discussing it ever since. Debate has centered on the possible generative sources for the methane, and whether or not a subsurface ocean might be present.

This latest paper (above) speculates that the combination of water, salts and methane could be accounted for the formation of clathrates at extreme depth, which then disintegrate closer to the surface, and erupt out of fissures in the icy mantle in response to the extreme tidal stresses inflicted by close proximity to Saturn. The article makes reference to 2014 data theorizing an icy crust 19-25 miles thick, underneath which may exist an ocean up to 6 miles deep, and that the methane could be geologic and/or biologic in origin (re: hydrothermal vents and extremophiles exist in deep subsea trenches on Earth).

It's an interesting paper. Chemistry was never my best subject, so the comments about clathrate were entirely new to me.
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Re: Offworld Hydro/Cryothermal Phenomena

Postby Ultra on March 11th, 2015, 4:36 pm 

Sounds like a good place for gas turbine generators to me. They could convert the power into microwaves and beam it back here. Then we convert it back. Just don't let anything living near the beam or they'd get cooked real fast!
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Re: Offworld Hydro/Cryothermal Phenomena

Postby Darby on March 13th, 2015, 5:07 pm 

OK, this came as a bit of a surprise to me.

NASA's Hubble Observations Suggest Underground Ocean on Jupiter's Largest Moon, Ganymede (12-Mar-2015)

Any day containing a pleasant surprise is a good day in my book.
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