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Tylerdurden
02-14-2008, 01:13 PM
http://a52.g.akamaitech.net/f/52/827/1d/www.space.com/images/080213-titan-01.jpg Titan Has More Oil Than Earth
By Space.com Staff

posted: 13 February 2008
04:04 pm ET
Saturn's smoggy moon Titan has hundreds of times more natural gas and other liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, scientists said today.
The hydrocarbons rain from the sky (http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/071011-titan-drizzle.html) on the miserable moon, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes. This much was known. But now the stuff has been quantified using observations from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
"Titan is just covered in carbon-bearing material it's a giant factory of organic chemicals," said Ralph Lorenz, a Cassini radar team member from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "This vast carbon inventory is an important window into the geology and climate history of Titan."
At minus 179 degrees Celsius (minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit), Titan would be an awful place to live. Instead of water, liquid hydrocarbons in the form of methane and ethane are present on the moon's surface, and tholins probably make up its dunes. The term "tholins" was coined by Carl Sagan in 1979 to describe the complex organic molecules at the heart of prebiotic chemistry.
Titan has long been viewed as a place that might be somewhat like Earth just before biology got going.
Cassini has mapped about 20 percent of Titan's surface with radar. Several hundred lakes and seas (http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060728_titan_lake.html) have been observed, with each of several dozen estimated to contain more hydrocarbon liquid than Earth's oil and gas reserves, according to a NASA statement. The dark dunes that run along the equator contain a volume of organics several hundred times larger than Earth's coal reserves.
Proven reserves of natural gas on Earth total 130 billion tons, enough to provide 300 times the amount of energy the entire United States uses annually for residential heating, cooling and lighting, according to the release. Dozens of Titan's lakes individually have the equivalent of at least this much energy in the form of methane (http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/ap_huygens_update_050127.html) and ethane.
"This global estimate is based mostly on views of the lakes in the northern polar regions," Lorenz said. "We have assumed the south might be similar, but we really don't yet know how much liquid is there."
Cassini's radar has observed the south polar region only once, and only two small lakes were visible.
The findings are detailed in the Jan. 29 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Scientists estimated Titan's lake depth by making some general assumptions based on lakes on Earth. They took the average area and depth of lakes on Earth, taking into account the nearby surroundings, like mountains. On Earth, the lake depth is often 10 times less than the height of nearby terrain.
"We also know that some lakes are more than 10 meters or so deep because they appear literally pitch-black to the radar. If they were shallow we'd see the bottom, and we don't," Lorenz said.
The question of how much liquid is on the surface is an important one because methane is a strong greenhouse gas on Titan as well as on Earth, but there is much more of it on Titan. If all the observed liquid on Titan is methane, it would only last a few million years, because as methane escapes into Titan's atmosphere, it breaks down and escapes into space.
If the methane were to run out, Titan could become much colder. Scientists believe that methane might be supplied to the atmosphere by venting from the interior in cryovolcanic eruptions. If so, the amount of methane, and the temperature on Titan, may have fluctuated dramatically in Titan's past.
"We are carbon-based life, and understanding how far along the chain of complexity towards life that chemistry can go in an environment like Titan will be important in understanding the origins of life throughout the universe," Lorenz said.



http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/080213-titan-oil.html

Tylerdurden
02-14-2008, 01:16 PM
So if there wasn't dinosaurs on Titan where did the oil come from?

I guess the Soviet scientists are far better than ours because in school they kept ramming the dead organic theory to us when on the other side of the planet they taught the kids both theory's.

huisjen
02-14-2008, 01:24 PM
Are you hoping that, contrary to what the geologists here on earth say, earth will be proven to have a chewy noughut oil filled center? Carbon is light, relatively speaking. It occurs in the crust and upper mantle, not the core. There is what there is, then there ain't no more. And we are now past peak oil. That's why the Saudis keep failing to keep the price of oil at the $20 per barrel that's most conducive to world economic stability, despite their promises to pump faster.

LeeG
02-14-2008, 01:35 PM
methane and ethane aren't oil

switters
02-14-2008, 02:33 PM
Earth first!
we'll mine the rest of the planets later:rolleyes:

interesting questions aside from the how to get it from one planet to another: Who owns Titan? is it first come first serve, plant the flag and claim the planet in the name of the king? might it be a government or a corporation that gets there first? Methane and ethane are potential sources of energy.

Stiletto
02-14-2008, 02:51 PM
In the unlikely event that any of those hydrocarbons could be shipped back to Earth, their use would definitley set up a major ecological imbalance.

BrianY
02-14-2008, 02:53 PM
anybody got a match?

John of Phoenix
02-14-2008, 03:05 PM
Remember "2001: A Space Odyssey"? The cargo they were bring back was oil.

So Titan is a blob of oil, eh? Now that we've found it, how do we get it? (Since we're determined never to develop any alternatives.)

"The hydrocarbons rain from the sky on the miserable moon."
Can't you imagine, preparing to enter the atomsphere...
"Ok Hal, fire the retro rockets in 5... 4... 3..."
"Fire? Did you say FIRE the retro rockets?!"

Willin'
02-14-2008, 03:30 PM
Never mind the oil, how do we get these down here?

http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/thumb/e/eb/200px-TheSirensofTitan(1959).jpg

Tylerdurden
02-14-2008, 05:05 PM
Are you hoping that, contrary to what the geologists here on earth say, earth will be proven to have a chewy noughut oil filled center? Carbon is light, relatively speaking. It occurs in the crust and upper mantle, not the core. There is what there is, then there ain't no more. And we are now past peak oil. That's why the Saudis keep failing to keep the price of oil at the $20 per barrel that's most conducive to world economic stability, despite their promises to pump faster.

The Soviets held the theory that oil was created by geologic action.
I read a couple of papers on it many years ago. They felt that these oil fields would slowly replenish themselves and some evidence supports that if I remember correctly.
I am not saying that is so or how fast or slow it happens if that is the case. Its the fact that not many of us have even heard about this theory.

brad9798
02-14-2008, 05:15 PM
Pretty amazing, really.

Oil is carbon-based ... not rock-based, sorry old CCCR believers.

AWESOME information ... of course, folks that only believe in Earth will discount it as bogus!

WAY COOL.

boylesboats
02-14-2008, 07:11 PM
Hummmmm,
How much of fuel would they burns while receiving and shipping oil to Earth?

The Bigfella
02-14-2008, 07:15 PM
How much of fuel would they burns while receiving and shipping oil to Earth?

Who said anything about shipping. I'm planning to build a pipeline. I'm almost ready to start raising funds

boylesboats
02-14-2008, 07:18 PM
Who said anything about shipping. I'm planning to build a pipeline. I'm almost ready to start raising funds

Heh heh heh heh.:D... Better off with a teleporter

Dan McCosh
02-14-2008, 07:33 PM
The pipeline isn't the problem--it's the reel to wind it up when the distance between Earth and Titan changes.

George Roberts
02-14-2008, 07:44 PM
I am told the energy cost of using a space elevator to move a person to orbit is about $200 about $1/lb.

So we should be able to pump oil to orbit from Titan for $1/lb.

Shipping to the Earth should be free if we accept a slow decent toward the sun. We could even use the descent of the oil to power a space elevator on the Earth.

As long as Science Fiction works out $1/lb seems reasonable.

Ron Williamson
02-14-2008, 07:46 PM
Why not just reel it in?
A guy might need to play it a bit if he's got light line,but otherwise,just haul'er in.
We could prolly use another moon anyway,as this one ain't much earthly good.
R

paladin
02-14-2008, 11:08 PM
It would be easier and cheaper to convert the "fuel" to energy in space and transport the energy down...or use it in space.

WX
02-15-2008, 12:47 AM
Hmm, oil from dinosaurs...haven't heard that one before.
Getting the oil from Titan orbit to Earth orbit would be fairly straight forward and relatively inexpensive, you wouldn't even need crew. Getting it from Earth orbit to the surface, now there you will have problems...that's one deep gravity well.
Can you imagine the fireball you would get if it went wrong...that would be one big fuel/air bomb. Anyway it's bad idea to bring more hydrocarbons in to the atmosphere. It would be better to refine it out there and use it for interplanetary flight.

Ron Williamson
02-15-2008, 06:42 AM
It would cure this whole daylight savings time thing.It would be daylight all the time,for a while.
R

huisjen
02-15-2008, 08:22 AM
Roberts, Titan's gravity is about 1/10th of gravity on earth. That should change your numbers.

Everyone else should remember that we make use of petroleum products by oxidizing them. That takes oxygen. You're not going to burn it in orbit without an oxygen source. So we could mine lunar dust and derive oxygen using solar power, then burn Titan's hydrocarbons, or we could just use the solar power from the moon, beamed to a transfer satilite in earth orbit, then to earths surface, where we can use it to pump seawater up onto the east antarctic plateau, Death Valley and Salt Lake, the Aral Sea, the Taklamakhan, and any other depression that can take it, to stop damage from rising sea level.

Or we could harness cold fusion and zero point energy. Or we could go back to banging rocks together for entertainment, because we're past peak oil and there's lots of competition and the competition is physically closer to the middle east than we are.

Now somebody is going to talk about how the market will provide alternatives. "Mr. Donner, you got us up into this mountain pass and trapped in a blizzard and starving. We, the market, demand alternative sources of food."

Anybody got a fork?

LeeG
02-15-2008, 08:35 AM
I'm still wondering why they call ethane/methane oil.

Backfin
02-15-2008, 08:43 AM
In the unlikely event that any of those hydrocarbons could be shipped back to Earth, their use would definitley set up a major ecological imbalance.

I agree. While the earth is not a completely closed system, it would not be wise to bring more heat and matter. We can't seem to balance the system we have now.

Fork?
Eat with your right, wipe with your left. ;)

Dan McCosh
02-15-2008, 10:39 AM
I'm still wondering why they call ethane/methane oil.

These are only a couple of molecules away from liquified oil, easily synthesized into diesel, methanol or gasoline. Refineries mainly does the other way around, starting with more complex hydrocarbons to achieve the same result.

Popeye
02-15-2008, 10:42 AM
I'm still wondering why they call ethane/methane oil.seems to me they have , implicitly , connected them , especially from the title

they also talk about abundant hydrocarbons , but not crude oil per se

gasoline on titan quickly becomes a moot point , if the technology to mine titan suggests free abundant energy sources :rolleyes:

LeeG
02-15-2008, 10:44 AM
Dan, that makes as much sense as saying a Yugo is just a couple hundred horsepower from a Ferrari or the moon is like Mars.

There must be a particular minimal configuration that defines oil, not a numerical closeness like elements on the periodic table.

For that minimal configuration is there oil on Titan? For a science article it seems worthwhile to know.

brad9798
02-15-2008, 11:06 PM
It would be more efficient to get a new VW Polo diesel ... ship it to Titan ... then fuel, abeit lonely, would be free.

I think most tree-huggers ought to consider that option ... then, we could all be happy!

:D