Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lake Freeman in Outer Space

Definetly not as warm as the one in Indiana, but Lake Freeman in Monticello, Ind., now has a namesake more than 800 million miles away on Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

The International Astronomical Union recently approved the name suggested by Robert Brown, a Purdue University alumnus and Lafayette native who leads the science team that runs the visible and infrared mapping spectrometer aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

Brown's team discovered the approximately 12-mile-long methane lake while taking measurements and observing the moon in January. He proposed the name Lake Freeman after the Indiana lake where his family often vacationed during his childhood.

But the lake found on Titan -- Saturn's largest of 62 moons and the solar system's second largest moon -- is unlike anything on Earth. The 12-mile-long lake is a body of liquid methane, meaning it's at least 288 degrees below zero.

"Titan has a lot of superficial similarities to Earth in that it has lakes, seas, rivers, riverbeds, sand dunes and rainstorms," Brown said. "But the big difference is when it rains on Titan, it rains liquid natural gas."

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how much lake front property is there?