Phantom Lakes Found on Titan Pose a Deep Question

Seas on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, have disappeared, prompting astronomers to question why three bodies of liquid once seen by the Cassini spacecraft could have left that world. The seas are composed of liquid methane and ethane, and they were first seen by the Cassini spacecraft. When the orbiter returned for a second view, they were gone. When the seas were discovered, it was winter in the northern hemisphere of Titan, and they were gone in summer, prompting astronomers to speculate the seas may have been lost to evaporation and soaking into the surface of that world. Titan is the only body in the Solar System, other than the Earth, known to possess liquid seas at its surface.

Read More Phantom Lakes Found on Titan Pose a Deep Question
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Want to Blow Up an Asteroid? It’s Harder than You Think

Science fiction is filled with stories of astronauts blowing up asteroids just before they strike the Earth. But, doing so could be even worse than doing nothing, as fragments of these bodies could impact the Earth in multiple locations, like a shotgun blast. Now, new research from Johns Hopkins University shows even attempting to blow up an asteroid might prove futile. Computer models of impacts between two asteroids show that such events would likely result in short-term fragmenting of the bodies, but these pieces would come together again within hours, recreating a mass much like the original asteroid. Researchers are on the lookout for asteroids and comets heading toward the Earth that could endanger areas from small cities to the entire planet.

Read More Want to Blow Up an Asteroid? It’s Harder than You Think