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"Dragonfly" Titan explorer drone, NASA funds Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL)
post Dec 6 2019, 02:17 AM
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QUOTE (rlorenz @ Dec 5 2019, 05:07 AM) *
In this context (and in the 'Titan: Dead or Alive?' debate I had with Jeff Moore some years back) I've liked to show the attached as something of an analog : the salt glaciers in Iran. Salt layers emplaced when the Sea of Tethys (!) dried up are buoyant compared with their superposed sediments, and halite is a soft enough rock to flow somewhat (especially when mobilized by moisture). In a few places, the salt diapirs pierce the surface, and flow at ~1m year, spreading out in a blob (I guess ultimately material is lost at the edges by dissolution in occasional rainfall - certainly the surface is dissected).


So, it's functionally solid material, it has exuded from underground: perhaps if we saw it on Titan we'd call it a cryovolcanic flow. But it isnt what we'd call on Earth a volcano. On the other hand, it wasnt emplaced meteorologically, like an ice glacier. It's something in between, and Titan may have a lot of 'in between'. Arthur C. Clarke's 'Imperial Earth' has a nice word - 'waxworms'....

I really enjoyed your post. Very informational. Thanks for this
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post Dec 6 2019, 04:40 PM
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I too am glad to see this topic revisited here. I remember we had a discussion along similar lines a number of years ago that many current members and visitors may have missed. There is so much potential on Titan for active processes that don't fit within familiar terrestrial categories and timescales. That's one reason why it will be a fascinating place to explore further. It would be a tremendous aid to understanding if we had a way of establishing even the relative chronology of surface features large and small. Absolute dating of any kind would be even better, of course. Meanwhile those Iranian salt extrusions are great to think about. They don't need internal heat to drive them for a start.
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post Dec 10 2019, 08:48 PM
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Slightly off topic, but still relevant...here is my take at 3d view of Dragonfly's landing area using SAR data, combined with DTM from dr. Lorenz....the view is towards northwest...Selk crater is on the right...in front of it to the south sand dunes can be seen...as I understand, Dragonfly will touch down somewhere among those dunes in 2034.

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