Astronomers draw first global map of Titan + Water confirmed under Europa

NASA scientists confirm water vapor on Jupiter's moon Europa (extraterrestrial oceans)

SUMMARY POINTS: NASA scientists saw water molecules at Europa's leading hemisphere. The team confirmed the moon releases 5,000 pounds of water per second. Reigniting a theory that an ocean twice the size of the ones on Earth is under the shell. NASA has theorized that Europa had water underneath its shell for many years.

Astronomers draw first global map of Titan (alien topographies)

EXCERPT: Astronomers have used data from NASA’s Cassini mission to map the entire surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, for the first time. Their charts reveal a diverse terrain of mountains, plains, valleys, craters and lakes unlike anywhere in the Solar System outside Earth.

[...] Nearly two-thirds of Titan’s surface consists of flat plains, the map reveals, and 17% is covered in sandy dunes shaped by the wind, mostly around the equator. Around 14% of the surface is classified as ‘hummocky’ — hilly or mountainous — and 1.5% is ‘labyrinth’ terrain, with valleys carved by rain and erosion. There are surprisingly few impact craters, suggesting that the moon’s surface is fairly young. Titan is the only world in the Solar System aside from Earth with known bodies of liquid on its surface. However, these seas and lakes are filled with liquid methane rather than water, and they cover just 1.5% of the moon’s surface.

[...] most of the moon’s lakes are near its north pole, and scientists think that this is because Saturn’s elliptical orbit around the Sun causes Titan’s northern hemisphere to experience a longer summer — the season when rain falls and liquid accumulates on the ground — than does its southern hemisphere. NASA plans to send a drone to Titan on the Dragonfly mission by 2034, which will fly across the surface and study it in multiple locations. (MORE - details)
It's starting to sound like many of the outer planet moons might have liquid water seas under their icy shells.

And NASA's JPL (the extraterrestrial rover people) are on the job! Here's BRUIE, for Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration, a little wheeled rover designed to bob up to the bottom surface of extraterrestrial ice where it will roll around checking things out.

They are going to be testing BRUIE in Antarctica, where it will crawl around the bottom of Antarctic ice sheets. That's probably going to be very interesting to biologists in its own right, even if BRUIE never makes it to space.

Here it is being tested under thinner ice. (I doubt that any sunlight would penetrate the ice on these distant moons. So any space-animals in there are unlikely to have eyes. They might have other very acute senses though.)

NASA photo:

[Image: BRUIE_20191118-16.jpg]

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