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Upcoming Lecture: Saturn’s Moon Titan

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Hovering Over Titan. November 23, 2004. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Hovering Over Titan. November 23, 2004. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

With the recent finale of the revamped Cosmos television series where Neil deGrasse Tyson drove the spaceship of the imagination, you might be wondering where you can get your next planetary science fix.  Look no further, the Library of Congress NASA Goddard lecture series can help. On Thursday, June 26th Dr. Carrie Anderson, Associate Chief at NASA Goddard Planetary Systems Laboratory, will be visiting the Library to discuss “Saturn’s Moon Titan: A Future Abode for Life?” This talk will focus on NASA’s flagship Cassini Mission, and the similarities and differences between Titan’s enigmatic atmosphere and that of our home planet.

Our speaker, Dr. Carrie Anderson, offers up this brief summary of her presentation to whet your appetite:

The Cassini spacecraft is a highly sophisticated robot with instrumentation that has revealed a lot about the conditions on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Titan is swarming in an organic soup containing nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen in the atmosphere, with water frozen on the surface. The four main elements carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen are the main building blocks of life as we know it. However, Titan has been slumbering in a deep freeze for more than 4 billion years. All that is needed is a little heat for Titan to warm up enough to potentially support life. Meanwhile, the sun has leisurely been consuming its hydrogen fuel. Once this fuel has become exhausted, the sun will begin to expand into its red giant phase, becoming much more luminous. When this happens Titan will awaken from its state of hibernation and life on Titan may become a reality. This phase will unfortunately exist for only a brief time before it will get too hot on Titan, and we will have to pack our bags once again and move farther out into the solar system.

Please join us on Thursday June 26th at 11:30 for “Saturn’s Moon Titan: A Future Abode for Life” with Dr. Carrie Anderson in the Pickford Theater, 3rd floor, Madison Building, Library of Congress

If you cannot make it to the lecture, it will be captured and later broadcast on the Library’s webcast page and YouTube channel “Topics in Science” playlist in the coming months.  Also on the horizon is a lecture about the “Moody Sun” with NASA scientist Dr. Holly Gilbert on August 19th. [Update 11/10/2014 You can view this lecture on the Library’s webcast page and YouTube channel, Topics in Science playlist. ]

For more information, contact the ST&B division at 202-707-1212

Please request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at 202-707-6362 or [email protected]

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