System design of successive ‘Hayabusa’ asteroid explorer begins: NEC

NEC Logo

‘Hayabusa’ is a robotic spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) aiming to deliver a specimen from an asteroid namely, 25143 Itokawa, to Earth for further research. Now NEC has begun a new system design of an asteroid explorer for JAXA’s ‘Hayabusa 2 Project’.

The company is responsible for the system formulation along with the subsystem designs inclusive of the Ka-band communication subsystem and intermediate-infrared camera. Both of these have to be incorporated in the asteroid explorer as per JAXA guidelines. While the former is a communication subsystem with apparently high-capacity transmission, the latter is an imaging camera for noting down the temperature and surface conditions on the asteroid.

This successive version of the aforesaid spacecraft is expected to be launched in 2014 by JAXA. According to the schedule, the new asteroid explorer will reach the asteroid ‘1999 JU3’ in the mid period of 2018 and then head back to Earth by the conclusion of 2020.

The explorer’s principal objective is to assemble and return specimens from asteroid ‘1999 JU3’ to the Earth. These samples may unravel the mysteries of the evolution and beginning of the solar system. They may also aid in analyzing the raw materials of living creatures by means of hydrated minerals and organic matter.

Starting from the launch of the ‘OHSUMI’ satellite in 1970, the company has produced and developed over 60 satellites and explorers. NEC will continue to spearhead scientific revelations via this new asteroid explorer. This is also likely to have an effect on the experience of round-trip operations undertaken by the original ‘Hayabusa,’ while returning samples from a small near-Earth asteroid, Itokawa.

Levitated flies offer clues to effects of weightlessness on biological mechanisms

Fly

When in doubt about how human beings may be affected by weightless conditions in space, don’t seek answers from levitating flies. That’s because researchers at The University of Nottingham claim their magnetically levitated fruit flies can only provide information about the effects of weightlessness on particular biological mechanisms.

Quite obviously, it’s practically impossible to carry out a similar investigation on humans since there’s no existing magnet which can do the same. However, observing the effects on model organisms like the fruit fly could at least, offer an insight into the effects of weightlessness on certain biological mechanisms. A different kind of magnetism called diamagnetism in which objects are weakly repelled from the produced fields is what the majority of biological materials are affected by.

In the study, a powerful superconducting magnet was used to create a very strong magnetic field approximately 350,000 times stronger than that of the Earth’s field, or 16 Tesla, by the involved researchers. Within the superconducting solenoid magnet, the diamagnetic repulsive force on the flies was large enough to merely balance the force of gravity in order to levitate the insects. This technique was previously employed by physicist Andre Geim and colleagues at the University of Nijmegen in 1997, to levitate a live frog.

Dr Richard Hill, an EPSRC research fellow in the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy and one of the researchers involved in the project, explained, “It’s also important to remember that, in our future endeavors to explore space, setting up permanent bases on our Moon, or Mars for example, or other planets, it will be crucial to understand the effects of weightlessness on all living organisms: our long-term survival will of course require us to take with us many different biological organisms.”

“Crucially, as far as living organisms are concerned, the levitation force balances the force of gravity right down to the molecular level. This means we can compare the levitation force, which balances the force of gravity in our magnet, with the centrifugal force that balances the force of gravity on an astronaut in orbit around the Earth. In orbit, aboard the international space station for example, gravity is still present, but because an orbiting body is effectively in ‘free-fall’, the centrifugal force on the astronauts (because they’re going around the planet so quickly), is large enough to balance out the force of gravity. Here, we’re using the diamagnetic force to balance gravity instead of centrifugal force,” added Hill.

But the strong magnetic force could hardly have been expected to go unnoticed by the flies. The insects in the center of the field apparently walked more quickly, though the reason for this behavior wasn’t clear. It could be possible that the flies found moving around in weightlessness easier on their joints and muscles or maybe there was some confusion as to which way was up or down, in the absence of gravity.

The work on these magnetically levitated fruit flies was executed in collaboration with Madrid’s Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas scientists and carried out at The University of Nottingham’s superconducting magnet supplied by Oxford Instruments.

2 Earth-sized planets spotted far away: NASA

2 New Exoplanets

Nasa’s Kepler space telescope has persistently been on the lookout for habitable worlds other than Earth. In one such voyage, astronomers from NASA and MIT came across 2 new exoplanets which were situated almost 950 light-years away from the Earth.

One of the planets was almost the size of the Earth while the other one was slightly smaller. The scientists believed that both the planets probably had rocky compositions and orbited a giant star like the Sun. These planets supposedly revolved around their star in a span of a few days or weeks. Owing to their firm circuitry, the planets appeared to be very hot. They were considered to be too hot to sustain life.

Co-author Sara Seager, the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Planetary Science and Professor of Physics at MIT, cited, “For the Kepler space telescope, it’s extremely significant, because it proves we can reach down to Earth’s size. It’s a massive accomplishment just to find anything at all like this.”

These new planets apparently orbited the star Kepler 20 and were related to the five-planet system. They have been titled Kepler 20e and Kepler 20f, respectively. The smaller planet Kepler 20e had the most chances of being a planet in the true sense. Its chances were even more than Kepler 20f whose possibility of being a planet was 1,370 times.

The scientists are hoping to locate even more Earth-sized and smaller than Earth-sized planets with the main objective being to locate worlds that could support life. The research is published in the journal, Nature.

Ultra-red galaxies lying afar spotted

Ultra Red Galaxy

Exploring the universe wouldn’t have been something as tough as locating a galaxy almost 13 billion light-years away from Earth. What the scientists from Harvard Smithsonian center for Astrophysics (CfA) stumbled upon was a set of 4 dusty galaxies smeared in red.

The cause behind the reddish hue that the galaxies were dipped in still remains a mystery. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope supposedly spotted this red clan owing to its reactivity to infrared light. These new members of the universe were apparently 60 folds shinier in infrared than even in the reddest form to be spotted by Hubble.

Some validations for the redness of the galaxy, the experts believed were dust, presence of native red stars or distance. A phenomenon known as redshift could also be a reason since it occurs when the universe extends the light of the galaxies to longer wavelengths, making them ruddy in the process.

“Hubble has shown us some of the first protogalaxies that formed, but nothing that looks like this. In a sense, these galaxies might be a ‘missing link’ in galactic evolution,” commented co-author Giovanni Fazio of the CfA.

The 4 galaxies that the team discovered seemed to be physically correlated to each other making other assumptions of coincident line-up out of question. Since they existed at such a huge distance from Earth, they were apparently noticed a billion years after the Big Band phase when the first galaxies got formulated.

The researchers are now headed towards calculating the redshift for the galaxies which necessitate more advanced equipments such as the Large Millimeter Telescope or Atacama Large Millimeter Array. They also suspect the presence of similar red species in the sky, which are to be explored in the coming days to come.

The findings are published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Saturn moon may support life

Galaxy Planet

Is there any probability of life beyond the surface of Earth? Well, it could be possible and now astronomers can find that out by a mechanism proposed by a collaboration of scientists from the Washington State University, ANSA, SETI, German Aerospace Centre and 4 other universities.

This system involved categorizing exoplanets by accessing 2 distinct indices, namely an Earth Similarity Index (ESI) and a Planetary Habitability Index (PHI). While the former will classify a planet’s features that are similar to Earth, the latter are a set of chemical and physical attributes which are theoretically suitable for life in conditions that are more extreme and less like Earth.

“The first question is whether Earth-like conditions can be found on other worlds, since we know empirically that those conditions could harbor life. The second question is whether conditions exist on exoplanets that suggest the possibility of other forms of life, whether known to us or not,” remarked Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astrobiologist with the Washington State University School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

These two indices developed by the scientists signified their first tryst with segregating several future exoplanets and exomoons. These planets will be thoroughly inspected to see if they possess certain features like Earth or other characteristics which support any form of life.

The team opined that looking for only Earth-like conditions on other planets could be restraining the investigation. It is for this reason that the PHI index will probe into other factors existing in the distance of exoplanets from the Earth. This trial will investigate both the physical and chemical factors of these exoplanets.

One such finding is that Saturn’s moon Titan may support a certain form of life owing to its hydrocarbon lakes, in theory. The report titled ‘A Two-Tiered Approach to Assessing the Habitability of Exoplanets’ will be published in the December issue of the journal, Astrobiology.

Are galaxies the ultimate recyclers?

Chris Howk Nicolas Lehner Galaxies have always been under scrutiny by most astronomers for a variety of expeditions. They are deemed to be a storehouse of clues for unraveling the mystic space. In one such analysis, a team of scientists from the University of Notre Dame and others has revealed that galaxies apparently continued to form stars by recycling huge proportions of hydrogen gas and heavy elements since a multitude of years.

The experts also found tons of initially undiscovered substances in the ambience of galaxies. They found large proportions of the hydrogen gas flowing in the environment of galaxies. By accessing Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope, the researchers gauged the densities of halos in the Milky Way and 40 other galaxies.

“We show that not only there is enough mass in the gas flows in halos of galaxies to sustain star formation over billions of years, but also the mass in the hot halos of star-forming galaxies is phenomenal–as large as the mass of gas in the disk of a galaxy,” remarked Nicolas Lehner, Physics faculty.

Apparently, clouds of hydrogen ions within 20,000 light years of the Milky Way disk comprised material sufficient to make approximately 100 million suns. Nearly one solar mass of this gas invaded the Milky Way every year as compared to the formation of stars by the galaxy.

Certain galaxies that stay far away also seemed to constitute greater amounts of heavy elements up to 450,000 light years ahead of the noticeable region of galactic disks. Moreover, galaxies that created stars swiftly may have the potential to drive about million-degree Fahrenheit gas far into the intergalactic space at almost 2 million miles per hour.

This speed is swift enough for the gas to disappear and never revert to the principal galaxy. Nevertheless, the process of recycling helps the formation of more stars. The findings essentially put forward that galaxies eject and reproduce their gas to expand further. This research is a challenge to theoretical explanations revolving around gas flows and galaxy formations.

The report is published in the journal, Science.

Life on Mars was possibly underground: NASA

Clay Minerals Mars

Most of us, if given a chance would like to live on the red planet Mars. But, think again, maybe we will have to stay underground. In a research by scientists at NASA, it has come to light that if ever there was any instance of life on Mars, the habitats staying there the longest would have probably been under the planet’s surface.

After years of mineral mapping data attained from more than 350 locations, the team unfolded that the Martian surroundings contained abundant liquid water at surface level only during short phases. These periods apparently occurred by the end of a multitude of years when warm water reacted with subsurface rocks. This connotes the existence of life on Mars and modifications of the Martian environment.

John Mustard, professor at Brown University in Providence, R.I. Mustard commented, “The types of clay minerals that formed in the shallow subsurface are all over Mars. The types that formed on the surface are found at very limited locations and are quite rare.”

The researchers hypothesized that prolonged warm water was limited to the subsurface and many erosional attributes emerged during short stages when liquid water was steady at the surface. Since the past 5 years, the researchers looked at clay minerals on thousands of regions on Mars. They believe that the interaction of water with rocks resulted in the formation of clay minerals.

Another important finding is the mineral called prehnite that seems to generally form at warmer temperatures above 200 degrees Celsius. These temperatures are synonymous with underground hydrothermal environments rather than water present at the surface. The presence of this mineral indicates that life on Mars was probably underground.

Therefore, the investigators essentially put forth that the warm and wet environment of Mars thought to be at the surface was supposedly at the subsurface. This analysis is published in the journal, Nature.

A cloud of dust surrounds black holes in galaxies

Dust V838 Monocerotis Clouds of uncertainty have possibly surrounded supermassive black holes literally. According to University of Leicester investigators, thick dust clouds enveloping huge black holes may have emerged due to accelerated collisions between planets and asteroids.

These supermassive black holes inhabit in the central portions of many galaxies. Reports show that nearly 50% of them are covered from view by clouds of dust, whose source is yet to be traced. Running parallel to the theory of the solar system, the team hypothesized that the central parts of galaxies comprise planets and asteroids apart from black holes and stars.

Crashes between these hard objects apparently take place at colossal speeds as swift as 1000km per second persistently scattering them into pieces until they are fine particles of dust. The analysts believe that these repeated collisions with radiation and the striking ambience seem to make the planets orbiting black holes sterile even prior to their destruction.

“Too bad for life on these planets, but on the other hand the dust created in this way blocks much of the harmful radiation from reaching the rest of the host galaxy. This in turn may make it easier for life to prosper elsewhere in the rest of the central region of the galaxy,” commented Dr. Sergei Nayakshin of the University of Leicester.

Nayakshin believes that comprehending the origin of the dust near black holes is crucial to gauge how these giants develop and the ways in which they influence the homing galaxies. The team suspects that the supermassive black hole in the Milky Way must have released most of the gas that would have otherwise been transformed into more stars and planets.

The researchers conclude that locating the source of dust in the inner locations of galaxies may help uncovering the secrets of supermassive black holes. The analysis is published in the journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

General theory of relativity by Einstein supposedly affirmed by galaxy clusters

Galaxy Clusters Einstein’s theory of relativity seems to putting everyone in a speculative mood, with the recent trial of particles breaking the speed of light making rounds. Now, astrophysicists from the Dark Cosmology Centre at Neils Bohr Institute seemed to have calculated how light influences gravity when it comes out of galaxy clusters.

Redshift is a phenomenon where the wavelength of light from remote galaxies goes more towards the red with larger distance. The redshift shows how much the universe has extended from the light left, till it was gauged on Earth. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity the light and even the redshift is influenced by the gravity of large bodies like clans of galaxies and apparently leads to a gravitational shift of the light. However the gravitational influence has never been calculated on a cosmological scale.

“It is really wonderful. We live in an era with the technological ability to actually measure such phenomena as cosmological gravitational redshift,” says astrophysicist Radek Wojtak, Dark Cosmology Centre under the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

The analysts noted minor differences in the redshift of the galaxies and saw the light from galaxies at the center of the cluster. The complete galaxy cluster’s mass was then measured and using the general theory of relativity, they could calculate the gravitational redshift for the varied locations of the galaxies.

It was found that the theoretical measurements of the gravitational redshift using the general theory of relativity seemingly affirmed the astronomical findings. The revelations show that the redshift of the light is proportionally offset relative to the gravitational effect from the galaxy cluster’s gravity.

Thus, the theory of relativity is supposedly proved and shows the prevalence of dark energy. The report is published in the journal Nature.

UARS satellite fell into South Pacific, reports NASA

UARS Map

Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is NASA’s orbital observatory whose objective is to analyze Earth’s atmosphere, particularly the ozone layer. Now, as per a new update from NASA, UARS has apparently landed back on Earth at 12am on September 24 in the east coast of the U.S.

According to the Joint Space Operations Center, the satellite seemingly gained an entry over the Pacific Ocean at 14.1 degrees south and 189.8 degrees east. This region is above a wide farther ocean in the Southern Hemisphere away from the land. The remains were found in about 300 or 800 miles downrange normally northeast of the re-entry mark. NASA has supposedly not witnessed any debris from this place.

“We extend our appreciation to the Joint Space Operations Center for monitoring UARS not only this past week but also throughout its entire 20 years on orbit. This was not an easy re-entry to predict because of the natural forces acting on the satellite as its orbit decayed. Space-faring nations around the world also were monitoring the satellite’s descent in the last two hours and all the predictions were well within the range estimated by JSpOC,” remarked Nick Johnson, NASA’s chief scientist for orbital debris, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

After completing 6 years of its productive scientific life, UARS crashed into bits during its re-entry and most of it caught fire in the atmosphere. Nearly 26 satellite components having a mass of almost 1200 pounds may have lived up to the ferocious re-entry and landed on Earth.

The Operations Center for JFCC-Space, the Joint Functional Component Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base, affirmed the re-entry of UARS. Any surviving constituent of UARS ought to have landed within a point between 57 degrees north and 57 degrees south latitudes due to the satellite’s orbit. As per the researchers, it is not possible to locate the exact zone of the debris, but they believe that the footprint may be around 500 miles long.

Dino-killing asteroid still a mystery?

Broken Up Asteroid

A certain family of asteroids has been alleged to have demolished the dinosaurs. Now, as per observations from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, this family may not be the prime guilty announcing the debate open for one of Earth’s biggest secret.

An asteroid known as Baptistina was the probable suspect. As per this finding, Baptistina apparently collided with another asteroid in the principal belt between Mars and Jupiter nearly 160 million years ago. This crash sent broken pieces as big as mountains flying to varied places. One such piece hit Earth that led to the demise of dinosaurs. The Baptistina family of asteroids is apparently out of suspicion according to fresh infrared observations presently.

“As a result of the WISE science team’s investigation, the demise of the dinosaurs remains in the cold case files. The original calculations with visible light estimated the size and reflectivity of the Baptistina family members, leading to estimates of their age, but we now know those estimates were off. With infrared light, WISE was able to get a more accurate estimate, which throws the timing of the Baptistina theory into question,” cited Lindley Johnson, program executive for the Near Earth Object (NEO) Observation Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

The NEOWISE team gauged the reflectivity and the mass of almost 120,000 asteroids in the main region as well as 1,056 members of the Baptistina origin. They found that the native parent Baptistina seemingly broke off 80 million years ago, that is half of the previously inferred timing. The outcomes disclosed a part of this asteroid that had to hit Earth in less time than initially assumed. It ought to have crashed in just 15 million years to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs.

This paves the path to further investigation as the asteroid family that created the dinosaur-killing asteroid is still under wraps.

Rare ‘super-Earth’ unfolded amidst 50 new exoplanets by HARPS

Super Earth HD 85512 b.jpg

Is it raining planets on Earth? Well, astronomers from ESO have used the exoplanet hunter HARPS and unleashed a wave of 50 new exoplanets, inclusive of 16 super-Earths.

By examining the attributes of all the HARPS planets that have been found, the team disclosed that 40% of stars similar to the Sun seem to have a minimum of 1 planet which is lighter than Saturn.

“The harvest of discoveries from HARPS has exceeded all expectations and includes an exceptionally rich population of super-Earths and Neptune-type planets hosted by stars very similar to our Sun. And even better — the new results show that the pace of discovery is accelerating,” cited lead researcher Michel Mayor.

HARPS believes that there are 376 Sun-like stars and the investigators estimate the chances of a star like Sun hosting planets having lower weight. In this view, they found that almost 40 % of these stars possess at least 1 planet that is less than Saturn in mass. Contrarily, systems with multiple planets are apparently found in most of the exoplanets of Neptune mass or less.

As part of the survey, 10 nearby stars similar to the Sun were analysed. After a span of 5 years the team located 5 new planets that seemingly weighed less than 5 folds of the Earth. The team is on the lookout for chemical signatures like the presence of oxygen on these planets.

A planet named HD 85512 b, that has been uncovered recently is touted to be only 3.6 folds of Earth’s mass. It appears to be located at the corner of the habitable region. This is supposedly the lowest-mass confirmed planet unraveled by radial velocity technique which possibly resides in the habitable zone of its star and the second of its kind identified by HARPS.

The analysts are very optimistic regarding the discovery of other super-Earths in the habitable zones surrounding stars similar to the Sun. This research is being presented at a conference on Extreme Solar Systems where 350 exoplanet professionals are meeting in Wyoming, USA.

NASA Kepler aircraft spots an unseen world, says research

Kepler 19b When a planet functions five minutes late, astronomers become curious as it implies the presence of another world nearby. More recently, astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have set their eyes on a planet that runs late and early in its orbit since another unseen planet is apparently giving it a gravitational jerk.

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has seemingly unfolded this invisible planet by spotting its influences on a planet that is noticeable. It is similar to a situation when a kid hits the doorbell and runs away. The person opens the door to find no one but is sure that someone was certainly there.

“This invisible planet makes itself known by its influence on the planet we can see,” specified astronomer Sarah Ballard of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

The visible and the invisible planet both orbit the Sun-like star Keplar-19, which is 650 light-years away from the Earth in the constellation Lyra. The 12th-magnitude star is suitably located for witnessing it by backyard telescopes in the evenings of September. Kepler finds planets by spotting the star that is dimly lit when a planet comes close to it. The greater the dimness, larger is the planet. The spacecraft seemingly located the planet Kepler-19b that travels along its star every 9 days and 7 hours. It appears to be a little more than double the size of Earth. It can probably be called a mini-Neptune, though its constitution and weight are under wraps.

As per the investigation, if the aforesaid planet was alone, every shift would follow a definite pattern. However, they arrive 5 minutes prior to or later than the appropriate time. These slight variations supposedly reveal the presence of another world tugging on Kepler-19b that is alternately accelerating or dampening its speed. Even the planet Neptune was discovered by a similar methodology.

Presently, the scientists do have any details of the invisible domain Kepler-19c other than the belief that it does exist. Its mass is apparently low to tug the star adequately so that professionals can measure its mass. Also, Kepler hasn’t seen it transiting the star, this shows that it may have a slanting orbit compared to Kepler-19b. As per co-author Daniel Fabrycyky, Kepler-19c could be rocky planet on a circular 5-day orbit or a huge planet filled with gas on an oblong 100-day orbit. The Kepler spacecraft will henceforth continue to inspect Kepler-19 to locate the orbit of Kepler-19c that will give them an idea of the mysterious world.

The research is published in The Astrophysical Journal.

NASA unfolds the faintly visible solar flare up

Nasa Logo Solar storm is a flare up taking place on the sun that is known to influence the Earth as well. NASA space observatory scientists are conducting a research to comprehend the evolution of solar storms that seemingly have the potential to harm satellites, distort interactions and result in power grid failures on Earth.

The solar storms,known as Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), are being analyzed from NASA’s twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, spacecraft launched in 2006. This pair presents a vital component in the set of NASA spacecraft that improves the ability to indicate solar storms. New processing methods utilized on STEREO data apparently allow scientists to gauge how solar eruptions grow into space storms at the Earth.

“The clarity these new images provide will improve the observational inputs into space weather models for better forecasting,” quoted Lika Guhathakurta, STEREO program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

CMEs are a class of billion-ton clouds of solar plasma produced by the same sun explosions that ignite solar flares. When they strike across Earth, they tend to result in auroras and radiation storms that disturb reactive electronics on satellites. In certain cases, it also leads to power outages. Keeping a check on these clouds and predicting their arrival is an essential area of space weather forecasting. The latest images of STEREO-A spacecraft disclose complete characteristics of a large Earth-directed CME in late 2008. This study seemingly links the natural magnetized structure in the sun’s corona to the intrinsic anatomy of the interplanetary storm as it struck the earth after a span of 3 days. When the information was gathered, the spacecraft was nearly 65 million miles farther from the Earth.

The wide angle lens of the spacecraft seemingly store the pictures. They spot normal sunlight spread by free floating electrons in plasma clouds. As these clouds go away from the sun, they shine and are apparently noticeable. However, since the clouds expand into emptiness their visibility seems to be substantially decreased. The clouds are around 1000 times lighter than the milky way thereby making direct imaging a challenging process. This also apparently restricts the relation between solar storms and the coronal structures that are mainly responsible for it.

NASA spacecraft observations and new data processing techniques are providing scientists with more enlightenment on the formation of solar storms.

UCLA investigators unmask climate of Saturn’s moon Titan

Titan Saturn Moon It seems like planets have their own world out there which no one on the Earth can witness. Nevertheless, UCLA investigators have unmasked the reason why Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, has a huge arrow like cloud nearly the size of Texas on its surface.

The scientists used a global circulation model of Titan to present how planetary-scale atmospheric waves influence moon’s climatic conditions. This is known to have a stenciling effect that seems to form distinct and occasionally unusual cloud structures.

“These atmospheric waves are somewhat like the natural, resonant vibration of a wine glass. Individual clouds might ‘ring the bell,’ so to speak, and once the ringing starts, the clouds have to respond to that vibration,” remarked Jonathan L. Mitchell, UCLA assistant professor of Earth and space sciences and of atmospheric and oceanic sciences.

The clouds that seem intriguing such as the arrow-shaped ones, and are formed by atmospheric waves may result in severe precipitation. The number goes even above 20 times in certain cases of Titan’s average seasonal rainfall. This could be vital in crafting Titan’s surface by the process of erosion. Mitchell and his team have named Titan’s weather as ‘all-tropics’ seemingly because the complete planet encounters the kinds of weather conditions that are experienced only at equator on the Earth .According to Mitchell, these implications are observed not only for general characteristics of Titan’s climate but can also be apparently used for individual storms. This result may also help in indicating what types of clouds will be seen in the seasons coming in future.

Mitchell added that Titan’s all-tropics climate provides an essential ground for examining tropical weather in an easier set-up than on Earth. He added that this analysis may also help in comprehending earth’s weather during changing seasons. Since late 2004, NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft has been in orbit around Saturn in 2004 has helped to achieve a breakthrough in getting an insight of Titan. The latter is apparently greater in volume than the planet Mercury and also stands second as per sizes of moon after Jupiter’s Ganymede. Titan apparently has a thick atmosphere of nitrogen and experiences rainfall comprising natural methane gas. As Mitchell puts it that Titan is like Earth’s weird sibling in the sense that is the only other rock-solid body in the solar system that presently encounters rainfall.

Titan, though an alien world, is similar to Earth in many respects. It mainly constitutes nitrogen like Earth. It also has lots of water though they are in a frozen state. Methane forms the third layer similar to water vapor on Earth. This methane precipitates and is released from resources at the surface. The runoff seemingly forms the climate of its cold surface, creating apparent series of river patterns. Researchers believe that after the Earth’s atmosphere was formed, it had large amounts of methane and very less oxygen. Earth would have been completely frozen if methane’s greenhouse effect wouldn’t be present.Thus Mitchell concludes that by observing Titan’s recent weather will unravel the conditions surrounding Earth in its initial stages. The team has created an atmospheric model to understand the climate and cloud series of Titan.

The research was published in the August 14 in the online edition of the journal Nature Geoscience.