Titan Continues To Fascinate While Defying Speculation

How much is understood by scientists about Titan? There have been many instances where scientists never discover what they had predicted. The data defies long-age assumptions, thereby increasing the complexity within their framework rather than confirming it.

Saturn’s giant moon Titan keeps on revealing mysterious and fascinating discoveries. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft finds a river on Titan comparable to that of the Nile river on earth. However, Titan is too cold (-179) to allow flowing water rather it’s ethane and methane which fill the lakes and streams on Titan.

New Scientist, explains…

“Coursing 400 kilometres towards a dark delta, a river found on Saturn’s moon Titan is the longest yet seen outside Earth. Bearing a striking resemblance to the Nile, the river hints at ongoing geological activity on the moon.”

“The Nile’s relatively straight shape is partly controlled by fault lines, which on Earth mark the places where tectonic plates meet. Titan is probably too small to have plates, but the river may also be tracing a fault in the bedrock, says Farr. Pressure could build up on such faults, causing them to shift and form new chasms and lakes, he says.” 

It is interesting to note, even though scientists don’t believe Titan has plate tectonics, they do however believe the river tracks a fault line! Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? In another discovery found on Titan, the moon is icier than previous thought!

In Phys.org

“Scientists have long suspected that a vast ocean of liquid water lies under the crust. The new study suggests that the internally generated heat that keeps that ocean from freezing solid depends far more on Titan’s interactions with Saturn and its other moons than had been suspected.”

“The picture of Titan that we get has an icy, rocky core with a radius of a little over 2,000 kilometers, an ocean somewhere in the range of 225 to 300 kilometers thick and an ice layer that is 200 kilometers thick,” he said.”

“Previous models of Titan’s structure estimated the icy crust to be approximately 100 kilometers thick. So if there is more ice, then there should be less heat from the core than had been estimated. One way to account for less heat being generated internally is for there to be less rock and more ice in the core than previous models had predicted.”

“From measurements of the observed gravitational field of Titan, one can compute what the shape of Titan ought to be. But the new data show that Titan’s shape is much more distorted than would be predicted by a simple gravitational model. That discrepancy means the internal structure of Titan isn’t quite so simple.”

Titan’s data conflicts with long-age assumptions, for example…Its lack of craters and the craters are shallow which is hard to believe using long-age assumptions considering the moon contains the most gravitational pull.  Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, is a comparable size to Titan, but yet its craters are hundreds of meters bigger!

Next, there are dramatic changes happening in Titan’s atmosphere! Using an amazing instrument called the “Composite InfraRed Spectrometer”, a research team from the University of Bristol discovered “an enormous increase in Titan’s exotic trace gases over the south pole within a relatively short time.”

These gases are formed by sunlight, which then are converted by Titan’s atmosphere into benzene and hydrogen cyanide. The researchers were very surprised by this discovery considering such a rapid change within just a few short months. Why wouldn’t a circulation model predict activity even being relatively close to that high level? Well, it goes back again to the long-age assumption which prevails in secular science that bases everything on how things evolved. This discovery causes a problem for that assumption because they will have to invent something on how this erosive process could have been sustained over Titan’s presumed billions of years!

Another long-age problem was also discovered but more in-depth although questioning the age wasn’t discussed in this paper, it was just presumed to be very old!  The rate of thermal escape of hydrogen from Titan’s upper atmosphere has been a dilemma. Researchers found that dissipation of hydrogen and methane is similar to Jeans escape, meaning that molecules escape the atmosphere based on their kinetic energy derived from temperature.  The paper did suggest, “A global and temporal description is required to model Titan’s upper atmosphere.”

Every so often, one finds new papers which modified old papers that have been falsified such as the prediction of a global ocean being on Titan.  A new model was invented and then presented in Icarus (which should be free) where they calculated (using only ratios, not bulk quantities) that surface liquids should be dominated by ethane (56%) over methane (32%), with much lower concentrations at the poles. This counters actual observations on Titan, where the only lakes found are at the poles!

Everyone can agree that observational raw data is vastly superior to invented speculation! We learn something about what is out there in space, we don’t really learn anything with speculative models other than they require fixing all the time to rescue the overall theory. But when you believe in a young universe, these amazing discoveries do not increase the complexity of that! One marvels on how Titan continues to confirm creationism, while defying secular speculation!

Space Exploration Concerning Empiricism and Speculation

Are we exploring space only because of curiosity of discovering ingredients which one can speculate about life being present sometime in the distance past or speculating about its origin?

There is still controversy brewing over a dry or wet Martian planet. Data from last year indicates that many of the lakes or gullies were likely caused by volcanoes. But on September 27th, Curiosity Rover had taken a stunning picture of conglomerate and gravel which appear like  flowing surface water from the planet’s past. NASA quickly rushed to publish this amazing photo, because of its significance which lead Science Magazine to declare: “Bingo!” 

“Billions of years ago, enough water flowed down from the rim of Gale crater to carry gravel to the middle of the crater floor—where the Curiosity rover found and imaged it 3 weeks ago, the NASA mission’s team members reported in a press conference today.”

“The broken face of a 15-centimeter-thick layer of rock—perhaps tilted into view by a nearby small impact—shows off bits of rock worn into pebbly roundness as they tumbled down a nearby slope in a torrent of water. Later, the gravel became encased in water-deposited minerals. Other rovers have found evidence of salty ground water or evanescent puddles of brine.”

“And orbital imaging has shown that the nearby slope in Gale was surely a so-called alluvial fan; the cone-shaped feature formed when sediment-laden water spilled down the crater wall. But Curiosity’s discovery will let researchers infer a great deal more about this particular ancient water on Mars.”

“Unfortunately, gravel laid down in torrential flows is about the worst sort of deposit to search for traces of ancient life. As demonstrated on Earth, the organic remains of long-ago life are far better preserved in the muddy deposits of a quiescent lake bottom. “

So there you have it, one picture of the surface of Mars discovered by Curiosity convinced science magazine that there was water present supposedly billions of years ago. On the next day, Science Daily published an article saying Mars is drier than expected…

“Preliminary data from the Curiosity Mars Science Laboratory, presented at the European Planetary Science Conference on 28 September, indicate that the Gale Crater landing site might be drier than expected.”

“The prediction based on previous measurements using the Mars Odyssey orbiter was that the soil in Gale Crater would be around 6% water. But the preliminary results from Curiosity show only a fraction of this,” said Maxim Mokrousov (Russian Space Research Institute), the lead designer of the instrument.”

The problem with water on Mars is, the substance cannot exist on the surface at this present moment because of  the low atmospheric pressure, one hundredth that on Earth. Phys.org reports that the water wouldn’t last because of atomic-level erosion from the solar wind called sputtering…“In this process, atoms are knocked away from the atmosphere due to impacts from energetic particles” concluding that the planet was never wet or warm.  

In other space exploration news,  researchers have obtained enough data that discovers what happens during Titan’s year. They can now observe seasonal changes occurring on the moon. Researchers are finding these changing are having more of an impact on Titan than previously thought.

In  science daily

“Explains Dr Coustenis, “As with Earth, conditions on Titan change with its seasons. We can see differences in atmospheric temperatures, chemical composition and circulation patterns, especially at the poles. For example, hydrocarbon lakes form around the north polar region during winter due to colder temperatures and condensation.”

Interesting enough, The article mentioned the continuous ethane production from solar radiation but did not get into the time problem this creates. Over the course of 4.5 billion years, an accumulation of half a kilometer or more of liquid ethane was expected by scientists in a global ocean.  Even the Huygens probe was designed to float on that ocean which was falsified by direct observations. The lakes on Titan are appearing and disappearing  which can only mean that the lakes are shallow and the liquid hydrocarbons in them are moving around! This is hardly an indication of the moon being billions of years old, which is why the prediction of a global ocean consisting of ethane failed to meet expectations rather it confirms more of a youthful moon!

Another indication is the fact that Titan, the largest moon which contains the greatest gravitational attraction, has very few craters (three to five) after all that time. One has to ask whether it is credible that these processes have been going on for billions of years.

Creationists can still enjoy space exploration which has been a valuable tool in learning about our solar system confirming a Creator but one has to keep mind the difference of keep in mind the difference between between empiricism and speculation, between discovery and explanation!

How Do We Know Our Solar System Is Young?

One of the most accepted hypothesis or theories in evolutionary science claim our solar system formed about 4.6 billion years ago. Many theories have been built around this assumption in order to make predictions of what is out there in space. On the other hand, the Biblical account implies a much younger solar system. Is there evidence for a young solar system? The answer is, “yes!” Evolutionary scientists call it a mystery while creation scientists call it a confirmation.

The old age framework claims an accretion disk appeared which gravity used to flatten into a spinning disk.  From this disk over millions of years they claim, gravity caused planets to form and other objects. Once it reached a certain level or point, the excess gas and dust dissipated and cleared away, leaving the solar system as we observe it today.

The disk, also known as a nebula then becomes the source from which everything in our solar system was formed. However as science advances, evidence for a young solar system has been causing problems with this hypothesis.  Chemical-change is a good indicator on how old an object is.  The Cassini mission with its probe has been one of the amazing tools for discovering what is going on in our solar system!

For one thing, Scientists who have been modelling Titan’s atmosphere have made calculations using old-age assumptions concluded that no methane should be present on Titan rather it should have been used up in the first tens of millions of years of the moon’s history. There is some replenishment going on with the methane which is evaporating off Titan’s surface but not enough to account for the amount detected by the Cassini probe.  There is a lot of chemical-changing activity going on which is why evolutionary scientists were surprised to find so much methane on Titan. Also, methane escaping Titan’s thick atmosphere into space lowers the ten million year range as well.

The old-age assumption has encountered other problems with evidence for a young solar system.  Such as our sun, where in the old-age model suggests 30 percent less of the total energy the sun gave out than it is now. This causes a problem with evolutionary expectations on how life began on earth because with 30 percent less energy being giving out by the sun, the earth would be like an ice-ball, thus making it impossible for earth to create or sustain life. This is known as the faint young Sun paradox.

On a moon of Jupiter called Io, evolutionary scientists discovered another problem with their old-age assumption.  Io has an amazing array of many volcanoes that are much more active than Earth’s volcanoes. The heat given off by these particular volcanoes is much more than what Earth is producing. There was an expectation of volcanic activity with some heat but nowhere near the extent that was discovered because of the old-age assumption.

As a result, two more assumptions have been invented to explain the falsification of the new discovery. One is, the interior of Io and the amount of heat generated by all the volcanoes and the other is massive tidal forces due to gravity from Jupiter that squeeze Io and cause its shape to oscillate, generating heat inside Io. However, the geology of Io is not a mystery and is more logical when thinking in terms of youthfulness because the processes work well if the heat present after Io’s creation is simply used up and dissipates over several thousand years!

These are just a few examples on how we know our solar system is young rather than billions of years old. We observed, chemical-change on Titan that resembles its youthfulness, the sun being too cool to sustain life, and the heat from Io is another indicator. What an amazing solar system that was designed by God where we live in today!

New Papers Continues To Show Titan’s Youthfulness

The assumption of old age concerning Titan and the predictions that proceeded from it, here are the facts, they were wrong about a global ocean; they were wrong about huge lakes of liquid ethane; they were enormously surprised to discover sand dunes on Titan but what about geology?

They are still gathering data from this amazing moon, and once again it doesn’t look good for old age assumptions. Scientists hoped to find volcanoes but a new paper concludes that Titan gets its geology from the outside, instead from the inside. If this is found to be true then its implication consists of the surface features being created by wind, impacts and weather rather than active geology.

The hopeful cryovolcano announced last year was challenged by Moore and Pappalardo, authors of the new paper. Could the evidence be pointing to a geologically dead world on Titan? Planetary scientists previously have had an age conundrum with Titan.  They know that the methane in the atmosphere is destroyed and converted to other compounds in a one-way process. This puts limits on the age of the atmosphere which indicates a far less 4.5-billion-year age assumed for the solar system. This is why they hoped to find a reservoir of methane under the surface which would erupt in cryovolcanoes to replenish the atmosphere.

In another paper from the same source, it analyzed Titan’s equatorial sand dunes. These dunes, covering about 12.5% of the surface, were a surprise when discovered, because scientists were expecting large lakes or even a global ocean.  Scientists also doubted that the winds were strong enough at the surface to move particles around.  Dunes also exist on Mars, Venus, and of course, Earth, but on Titan, the average 300-foot-high dunes are nearly1.9 miles apart, and getting farther apart at higher latitudes.

Unlike the silica sands on Earth, the particles in Titan’s dunes are thought to be composed of hydrocarbon dust and ice precipitated out of the atmosphere.  All together, they constitute the largest known reservoir of organics on Titan, because the combined area of dunes is about as large as the United States. The dunes infringe upon the theories of Titan’s age.  Because for one, they are among Titan’s most youthful features; for another, they indicate a lack of persistent liquid on Titan’s equator, even though liquid ethane should have been raining onto the surface throughout Titan’s history!

The presence of dunes implies that much of Titan is extremely dry. If spread out evenly over the globe, the particles in this largest reservoir of organics (larger than all the observed lakes combined) would fail to cover Titan with the predicted accumulation of hydrocarbons that must have been produced in the assumed 4.5-billion-year age of the moon.

Titan’s Robust Weather Pattern

Imagine living in a world where natural gas in liquid form falls out of the sky as you look up. This of course is no imagination coming from man rather it’s known as Titan! A small moon compared to Saturn itself, about the size of Mercury has a robust weather pattern. Scientists have observed cloud cover over Titan’s vast dune fields as reported in science this week and covered in various news outlets (here and here).

“When photos showed a large patch near the equator of Titan mysteriously darken and then grow lighter within a couple of weeks, scientists knew something big was happening on Saturn’s largest moon. But what they found was something they didn’t expect: a methane rainstorm in a region of Titan thought to be covered by vast, arid dunes.”

“While the large moon is known to have methane lakes at its north and south poles, scientists thought Titan’s equatorial region was mostly dry, but the likely cause of the darkness was determined to be an outburst of clouds and methane rain — which suggests Titan’s equator has a rainy season.”

The weather pattern various from a drizzle to a flood in some areas. Observations of clouds changing in brightness were detected by the space probe Cassini from October of 2010 to January 2011. The clouds covered an estimate of 1000 km but left no evidence of standing liquid on the ground. Since Titan’s atmosphere is considered similar to that of earth, it was a bit of a surprise to discover a weather pattern near or on the equator that shows long dry spells rather than a tropical pattern observed on earth.

Perhaps Cassini is causing man-made global warming on Titan! Maybe future probes will have to go through emission tests first before being sent out in space so this problem doesn’t happen again! In all seriousness though, for some reason the clouds do not remain near the equator for long but most likely was able to wet the surface a bit without leaving puddles.

Not surprisingly, none of the publications discuss the age issue, because its easier to have a dogma set in place than to test the real issue. It would be reasonable to find evidence of vast deposits of precipitation if cloudbursts have been going on for millions or even billions of years! The channels do seem to reflect the drainage channels as being formed by current active weather patterns rather than relics of past epochs which makes Titan much younger than 4.5 billion years old!

How could scientists who believe in old ago dogma test the issue? After all, theoretical physicists are in the process of trying to come up with a formula to fit natural-only models of galaxy formation from contradictory evidence such as mature galaxies and stars being discovered in part of the universe where it’s considered immature. The answer to what scientists could do to test the old age dogma in order to have a better understanding is this, they could model what the conditions on Titan would be expected to look like after billions of years and ask whether the model fits current observations!

Mysterious Phenomena Happening On Titan

What’s going on with Saturn’s largest moon? Observations show lakes are appearing and disappearing which means the lakes are shallow and the liquid hydrocarbons in them are moving around. These lakes predominantly contain methane  and ethane.  In 2004, new dark areas was discovered in Arrakis Planitia near the south. These lakes have shrunk considerably in a span of 44 months.

A new paper and photo…Lake Ontario Lacus, which was discovered on the south pole, its shoreline has shrunk by 5.5 to 7 miles. Estimates of shrinkage is a bit tricky, while it’s not practical to measure these lakes directly, estimates show how much Arrakis gained and lost as a proxy which are based on estimates from 2004, containing the methane-carrying capacity cloud system where the cloudburst must have declined 2.4 to 14 cm of methane rain into the Arrakis basin (upper limit 4.2 m).  This yields estimates that between 24 to 140 km3 of liquid was lost at Arrakis in 4 years from a combination of evaporation and infiltration; probably similar amounts at Ontario.

Interesting to note, the northern lakes  in Titan have not declined between observations. This makes it even more interesting to watch what the “methane cycle” does to the southern and northern lakes as the seasons change and more sunlight hits the north.

Another thing to watch for is the lake bottom not being dark, as might be expected from sedimentation of hydrocarbons.  Either some sort of wave action cleansed the bottom as the shoreline retreated, or any sediments are light colored.  The authors favor the sediments being light-colored latter, saying that “bright organic condensates may be deposited within the lakes and exposed as the liquid level drops (Barnes et al., 2009).” This view is strengthened by the fact that the Cassini orbiter’s cameras saw numerous dark features in the south in 2004-2005, but light material as Ontario retreated.  It is not possible to know from albedo (reflected brightness) alone the composition of the bright sediments.

One can take a look back in history in all of this, in 1981 when Voyager I made its visit, scientists discovered an irreversible erosion of atmospheric methane was precipitating hydrocarbons onto the surface (especially ethane, which doesn’t have a way to get back into the atmosphere), scientists expected to find, over the course of 4.5 billion years, an accumulation of half a kilometer or more of liquid ethane in a global ocean.

The prediction of liquid ethane based on an assumption of Titan being 4.5 billion years old was later falsified in a specular way by the Cassini observations! In fact, the Huygens probe had been designed to float on that ocean predicted by scientists but that failed to come true. Instead, scientists discovered on Titan to have paltry accumulations of liquid in scattered lakes near the poles, while the equatorial regions are largely covered in icy sand dunes!

Now the sediments are bright, which would be surprising in itself, so one asks, “is there enough sediment to account for 4.5 billion years of deposition?”  In addition, Titan, the largest moon with the greatest gravitational attraction, accounts for only a few craters (three to five) after all that time. You may be asking with these observations, could  there been processes go on for billions of years? Many scientists are forced into a particular timescale, evolution happened slowly and gradually with the planets and stars. So what evolution sounds best at is when the evidence is speculated upon an unseen. These type of explanations had been invoked for the falsifications done by the probes on Titan.

For example, somehow the ethane seeped into the interior where no one can find it; maybe the interior has a methane reservoir that erupts through cryovolcanoes, replenishing the atmosphere; maybe this, maybe that.  If these scientists stick to the observations being discovered and draw reasonable conclusions from data alone, they would have to conclude that there are severe upper limits on how long Titan has been acting this way! The phenomena happening on Titan verifies, a Creator namely God!

Do Ingredients Suggest Emergence of Life?

Scientist and science publications have been pushing the idea if there is water, life is certain to have emerged from it. This reminds me of this idea, for many years it was believed that maggots were created with spoiled food until it was also disproved many years later by Louis Pasteur.

Take a look at some of these articles that are based on what I call,“ingredients approach”science daily reports…

“This discovery suggests that this region of our solar system contains more water ice than anticipated,” said University of Central Florida Professor Humberto Campins. “And it supports the theory that asteroids may have hit Earth and brought our planet its water and the building blocks for life to form and evolve here.”

In space.com has another study with the ingredients approach, “We can do this entirely in an atmosphere,” researcher Sarah Horst, a University of Arizona graduate student, said in a statement. “We don’t need liquid water, we don’t need a surface. We show that it is possible to make very complex molecules in the outer parts of an atmosphere.”

Sarah didn’t show any evidence for her claims that complex molecules come from the atmosphere, what she did was focus in on the ingredients and made the assumption those ingredients would emerge into life. She also claims that Titan’s atmosphere is a reservoir of prebiotic molecules that could serve as the springboard to life.

New Scientist has a version of the ingredient approach, “To find evidence for life we would need to measure the light spectrum of the planet’s atmosphere and look for the signature of water vapour, as well as possible by-products of life, such as oxygen and methane.”

And lastly, science daily and I believe someone linked this page in the comments, “By reconstructing an ancient protein and tracing how it subtly changed over vast periods of time to produce scores of modern-day descendants, scientists have shown how evolution tinkers with early forms and leaves the impression that complexity evolved many times.”

Creationists know the basic principle of evolution, a step by step, extremely slow process, so with that in mind, how a complex enzyme “emerged” so far back? The worst part of all these article is that they don’t have experimental evidence for their claims. For example, life has never been produced in a lab for any ingredients. So all their talk about all these ingredients supposedly able to emerge is unfounded. The Miller–Urey experiment didn’t produce life, in fact it has a “trap” in it. Why? Because if the things that were created in the lab would go through the process again, they would be destroyed. In nature, there are no such traps!

So why do some scientists just throw out these claims without not even having one “natural” example to go by? If they really know how life supposedly emerged through the ingredients don’t you think they could have reproduced it in a lab? They are really at the spoiled food assumption which life would supposedly emerge from that. No progress in other words! The foundation of the ingredient story holds no merit, no theory, but just a host of far out ideas about a fictional framework.