A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘triton

[NEWS] Five space science links: Moon, Titan, Triton, Messier 83, dark matter

  • Wired explains what would be the point of a crewed mission to the South Pole of the Moon, and what challenges remain.
  • Evan Gough at Universe Today notes the evidence for the surprising depth and complex hydrological cycles of the methane lakes of Titan.
  • Matt Williams at Universe Today reports on the interest of NASA in dispatching a low-cost mission to the Neptune moon Triton.
  • Universe Today looks at the nearby barred spiral galaxy of Messier 83, just 15 million light-years away.
  • Universe Today notes the recent disproof of the theory that dark matter is made up of primordial black holes.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 22, 2019 at 7:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Centauri Dreams considers the magnetic fields of super-Earths, and the impact of these on potential life.
  • D-Brief reports on the corporate partners selected to accompany NASA on its return to the Moon.
  • Bruce Dorminey reports on the claim of astronomers to have identified four extrasolar objects already in the solar system.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog pays tribute to long-time contributor Peter Kaufman, now departed.
  • JSTOR Daily asks why Americans, and others, eat three meals a day.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the underlying factors behind the gilets jaunes protests in France against higher fuel taxes.
  • Language Hat links to a fascinating essay about the persistence of individuals’ first languages.
  • Neuroskeptic takes a look at possible hacks to the human mind, in the light of a recent announcement of human genetic engineering. What will become possible? What will be done?
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that Triton, not Pluto or Eris, is the largest world of the Kuiper Belt.
  • Strange Maps shares a remarkable map of Lake Michigan made solely with a typewriter.

  • Daniel Little at Understanding Society ruminates on the thought of Scott Page regarding social modeling.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the history of the letter “Ё” in the Russian language.
  • Arnold Zwicky starts from the idea of green flowers to take a look at unusual greenery generally.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Architectuul talks about the remarkable and distinctive housing estates of south London, like Alexandra Road, currently under pressure from developers and unsympathetic governments.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait takes a look at Bennu, set to be visited by the OSIRIS-REx probe.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about meeting people you’ve met online via social networks, making friends even. Myself, I’ve done this all the time: Why not use these networks to their fullest in a fragmented vast world?
  • Centauri Dreams celebrates the now-completed mission of the exoplanet-hunting Kepler space telescope.
  • D-Brief looks at the distinctive seasons of Triton, and the still-open questions surrounding Neptune’s largest moon.
  • At JSTOR Daily, Nancy Bilyeau writes about the import of the famous Gunpowder Plot of 1605, something often underplayed despite its potential for huge change and its connection to wider conflicts.
  • Language Hat notes the name of God in the Hebrew tradition, Yahweh. Where did it come from?
  • Language Log shares an interesting idea for helping to preserve marginalized languages: Why not throw a language party celebrating the language?
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the question of what historical general or military leader would do best leading the armies of the living dead.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the problems with Erdogan’s big investments in public infrastructure in Turkey, starting with the new Istanbul airport.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers the possibility of life in the very early universe. Earth-like life could have started within a billion years of the Big Bang; Earth life might even have begun earlier, for that matter.
  • Frank Jacobs at Strange Maps shows a map of Europe identifying which countries are the more chauvinistic in the continent.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the strength of the relatively recent division between Tatars and Bashkirs, two closely related people with separate identities grown strong in the Soviet era.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Centauri Dreams shares a cool design for a mid-21st century Triton landing mission.
  • Crooked Timber argues American conservative intellectuals have descended to hackwork.
  • D-Brief notes the surprisingly important role that eyebrows may have played in human evolution.
  • Dead Things notes how a hominid fossil discovery in the Arabian desert suggests human migration to Africa occurred almost 90 thousand years ago, longer than previously believed.
  • Hornet Stories notes that biphobia in the LGBTQ community is one factor discouraging bisexuals from coming out.
  • At In Media Res, Russell Arben Fox gives a favourable review to Wendell Berry’s latest, The Art of Loading Brush.
  • JSTOR Daily explores the connections between Roman civilization and poisoning as a means for murder.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how the early 20th century American practice of redlining, denying minorities access to good housing, still marks the maps of American cities.
  • The LRB Blog notes how the 1948 assassination of reformer Gaitan in Bogota changed Colombia and Latin America, touching the lives of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Fidel Castro.
  • The Map Room Blog notes that Spacing has launched a new contest, encouraging creators of inventive maps of Canadian cities to do their work.
  • The NYR Daily notes a new exhibit of Victorian art that explores its various mirrored influences, backwards and forwards.
  • At the Planetary Society Blog, Jason Davis explores TESS, the next generation of planet-hunting astronomy satellite from NASA.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel shares photos of planetary formation around sun-like star TW Hydrae.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that a combination of urbanization, Russian government policy, and the influence of pop culture is killing off minority languages in Russia.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Anthropology.net’s Kambiz Kamrani notes evidence that environmental change in Kenya may have driven creativity in early human populations there.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shows how astronomers use stellar occultations to investigate the thin atmosphere of Neptune’s moon Triton.
  • Centauri Dreams notes how melting ice creates landscape change on Ceres.
  • D-Brief suggests that supervolcanoes do not pose such a huge risk to the survival of humanity, in the past or the future, as we thoughts.
  • Dangerous Minds shares Paul Bowles’ recipe for a Moroccan love charm.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog investigates the transformation of shopping malls and in the era of Amazon Prime.
  • At In Medias Res, Russell Arben Fox engages with Left Behind and that book’s portrayal of rural populations in the United States which feel left behind.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how Roman Catholic nuns on the 19th century American frontier challenged gender norms.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is critical of Tex-Mex cuisine, calling it an uncreative re-presentation of Mexican cuisine for white people in high-calorie quantities.
  • The NYR Daily shared this thought-provoking article noting how Irish America, because of falling immigration from Ireland and growing liberalism on that island, is diverging from its ancestral homeland.
  • Drew Rowsome reviews The Monument, a powerful play currently on in Toronto that engages with the missing and murdered native women.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes, in a photo-heavy post, how galaxies die (or at least, how they stop forming stars).
  • Towleroad shares a delightful interview with Adam Rippon conducted over a plate of hot wings.
  • Window on Eurasia shares an alternate history article imagining what would have become of Russia had Muscovy not conquered Novgorod.
  • Worthwhile Canadian Initiative notes the very sharp rise in public debt held by the province of Ontario, something that accelerated in recent years.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell suggests, in the era of Cambridge Analytica and fake news, that many journalists seem not to take their profession seriously enough.

[NEWS] Four science links: Florida Keys, life on Mars, Triton vs Neptune, Ross 128 b

  • Vulnerable ecologies and organisms in the Florida Keys are still recovering from Hurricane Irma (among other disasters). National Geographic reports.
  • Simulations suggest life could exist in the Martian soil not too far removed from the surface. Universe Today reports.
  • New simulations suggest that the Neptunian satellite system disrupted by the arrival of Triton was most like Uranus’. Universe Today reports.
  • News of the existence of Ross 128 b, a potentially Earth-like world orbiting a stable red dwarf star a mere 11 light years away, is exciting. The Guardian reports.

[LINK] “Is Triton Hiding an Underground Ocean?”

The answer to the question posed in the title of Jason Major’s Universe Today article is almost certainly yes.

Neptune’s moon Triton is noteworthy not only as the largest moon of Neptune, captured in a hypothesized near-collision eons ago, but as a prototype for the worlds of the Kuiper Belt, the belt of icy bodies (including dwarf planets) beyond Neptune’s orbit that includes the famous dwarf planet binary of Pluto and Charon. A Triton that, heated by tidal friction with Neptune and the decay of heavy elements in its core, has an ammonia-doped water ocean underneath its surface not only adds to the long list of outer Solar System bodies thought to have subsurface oceans like Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus, but also has obvious implications for the wider Kuiper Belt.

Briefly visited by Voyager 2 in late August 1989, Triton was found to have a curiously mottled and rather reflective surface nearly half-covered with a bumpy “cantaloupe terrain” and a crust made up of mostly water ice, wrapped around a dense core of metallic rock. But researchers from the University of Maryland are suggesting that between the ice and rock may lie a hidden ocean of water, kept liquid despite estimated temperatures of -97°C (-143°F), making Triton yet another moon that could have a subsurface sea.

How could such a chilly world maintain an ocean of liquid water for any length of time? For one thing, the presence of ammonia inside Triton would help to significantly lower the freezing point of water, making for a very cold — not to mention nasty-tasting — subsurface ocean that refrains from freezing solid.

In addition to this, Triton may have a source of internal heat — if not several. When Triton was first captured by Neptune’s gravity its orbit would have initially been highly elliptical, subjecting the new moon to intense tidal flexing that would have generated quite a bit of heat due to friction (not unlike what happens on Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io.) Although over time Triton’s orbit has become very nearly circular around Neptune due to the energy loss caused by such tidal forces, the heat could have been enough to melt a considerable amount of water ice trapped beneath Triton’s crust.

Another possible source of heat is the decay of radioactive isotopes, an ongoing process which can heat a planet internally for billions of years. Although not alone enough to defrost an entire ocean, combine this radiogenic heating with tidal heating and Triton could very well have enough warmth to harbor a thin, ammonia-rich ocean beneath an insulating “blanket” of frozen crust for a very long time — although eventually it too will cool and freeze solid like the rest of the moon. Whether this has already happened or still has yet to happen remains to be seen, as several unknowns are still part of the equation.

“I think it is extremely likely that a subsurface ammonia-rich ocean exists in Triton,” said Saswata Hier-Majumder at the University of Maryland’s Department of Geology, whose team’s paper was recently published in the August edition of the journal Icarus. “[Yet] there are a number of uncertainties in our knowledge of Triton’s interior and past which makes it difficult to predict with absolute certainty.”

Written by Randy McDonald

September 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm