View Full Version here: : Methanol and Triton

12-02-2011, 11:00 AM
Now here's another example of 'unexpected' behaviour of a well known compound, Methanol, on the icy world of Neptune's moon Triton, which would also be applicable on some of Saturn's moons as well ...

I wonder whether this discovery will undo some of the current geological explanations for formations on Triton .. (akin to CO2 sublimation/ablation's impact on Mars' geology)? :question:

Nanotechnology benefits from volcanoes in the outer solar system (http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-nanotechnology-benefits-volcanoes-outer-solar.html)

Whilst the 'spin' of the article is mainly about uses in nano-technologies, it also shows how our Earth-centric view of geological processes can result in 'unexpected findings' on the outer solar system moons. This is worthwhile keeping in mind when viewing alien landscapes, and reviewing their geological formation theories.


12-02-2011, 11:29 AM
I don't think this discovery will undo anything about outer solar system geology, however, it will add to our understanding of the processes which occur there and modify some others. It will also add new ones.

We really need to goto these places and see things for ourselves. Sending probes there is all well and good but to really understand what's going on we need to ground truth these places...we need geologists on the ground, so to speak.

12-02-2011, 12:20 PM
Just reading up on Triton's geology .. man its complex .. cryovolcanism, cantaloupe terrain, ridges, valleys, circular walls, pits, polar caps, tectonic plates

Its been warming up recently, also lots of theories for this including surface ice albedo changes resulting in heat retention, frost pattern changes ..

Its got one of the highest 'Bond albedos' (fraction of EM power scattered back into space), in the solar system .. sensitive to small variations in spectral albedo.

The surface is 55% frozen Nitrogen, water ice 15-35%, dry ice (CO2) forming the remaining 10-20%. Trace ices are 0.1% methane (Accounts for the red surface colour), 0.05% CO possibly ammonia on the surface, too.

It seems the frozen methanol behaviour might be more relevant to the internals of the moon, rather than the surface geology, though .. ie: in helping to explain the eruptions of the geysers/cryovolcanos ..


12-02-2011, 02:37 PM
Yes, it's a very interesting place. If we went there, it'd have to be in insulated spacesuits because our body heat would cause all sorts of problems if exposed to those conditions :)

Big Bang would be a good analogy:):P

12-02-2011, 04:36 PM
.. or a big 'POP' (because of the low pressure .. 1.9 Pa) …


12-02-2011, 05:57 PM
Might only sound like a faint pop (if audible at all), but the other physical effects would be the same as a huge bang:):P