The Cassini probe has discovered large lakes on the Saturnian moon of Titan. The probe did a flyby and took images of the lakes, about of dozen of them, with sizes ranging from 6 miles to 62 miles wide. The lakes appear to be comprised of methane and ethane.
Scientists believe methane gas breaks up in Titan’s atmosphere and forms smog clouds that rain methane down to the surface. But the source of methane inside the moon, which releases the gas into the atmosphere, is still unknown, Lunine said.
Last year, Cassini found what appeared to be a liquid hydrocarbon lake about the size of Lake Ontario on Titan’s south pole. But the recent flyby marked the first time the spacecraft spied a multitude of lakes.
Cassini’s next Titan encounter will be Sept. 7, when it will be 620 miles away.
This marks the 1st time we’ve confirmed the presense of lakes on any other planetary body but Earth. It’s a monumental discovery. The Cassini-Huygens project has yielded some of the most exciting finds in space exploration and it appears to have quite a bit of juice left.
Honda’s alliance with Piper Aircraft is going to start bearing fruit. Last year, Honda unveiled its small business jet, the HondaJet. Now it’s moving ahead with certification in the United States which will allow them to begin sales of the production models.
The prototype is a 6 or 7 passenger aircraft with a rated ceiling of 43,000 feet and a maximum speed of 420 knots. (That’s 483 miles per hour or 778 kilometers per hour.) Expected range will be 1100 nautical miles (2037 km), according to the press release.
Most interesting from a strictly aviation perspective is the placement of the engines. The HondaJet is basically a standard-looking business jet with the wing mounted on the bottom of the fuselage, slightly swept back, with a “T” tail. The engines on similar biz jets are mounted on the aft of the body. Honda wanted to avoid that in order to maximize passenger and baggage space. That usually leaves the wings to mount the engines and that’s usually done on the bottom of the wing. Doing that requires longer landing gear and puts the engines very close to the ground, allowing them to suck up debris far more easily. Honda put the engines on pylons that extend up from the top of the wing. This keeps the engines away from the ground and also puts them a lot closer to the centerline of the aircraft. That’s got to assist in controlling the plane. Clever.
Go have a look at the HondaJet site for pictures. You might see one of these flying over your place soon.