Friday, October 18, 2013

Oblivion - and - Why No Humans Could Survive Titan's Chemical Cocktail

In 2077, the human Jack Harper works with his companion Victoria "Vic" on the surveillance station Tech 49.

Jack repairs drones. His memory was erased as part of the security process to stay on Earth. [Conveniently making the whole invasion / Titan story plausible. - c]

He knows that Earth is completely depleted after sixty years of war against the alien invaders Scavengers "Scavs". The aliens have destroyed the moon, but were defeated by nuclear weapons. Earthlings have moved to Saturn's moon, Titan.

Now Jack has to protect the power stations that use the ocean to supply energy to Titan.

But, Jack has recollections of a mysterious woman at the Empire State Building when Earth was habitable...

Jack and Vic receive instructions from Sally (Melissa Leo), who is located on the space station Tet.

Vic is anxious to leave Earth in two weeks to join the survivors on Titan. However, Jack has a cabin in a secret place where he likes to stay alone.

When the spacecraft Odyssey crashes on Earth, Jack witnesses the drones killing the human crew but he rescues a woman, Julia, who is the woman of his recollections.

Julia and Jack recover the flight recorder but they are captured by the Scavengers. Soon they learn that the Scavs are actually a group of humans, who tell Jack that the invasion was a lie.

Jack does not believe them, and they release Julia and Jack into the radiation zone to find the truth.  

- Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - edited by c

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Dive into Titan's thick atmosphere and find out what a strange place it is, adapted from NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio. With its clouds, rain cycle, and giant lakes, Saturn's large moon Titan is a surprisingly Earthlike place. But unlike on Earth, Titan's surface is far too cold for liquid water - instead, Titan's clouds, rain, and lakes consist of liquid hydrocarbons like methane and ethane (which exist as gases here on Earth). When these hydrocarbons evaporate and encounter ultraviolet radiation in Titan's upper atmosphere, some of the molecules are broken apart and reassembled into longer hydrocarbons like ethylene and propane.

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft first revealed the presence of several species of atmospheric hydrocarbons when it flew by Titan in 1980, but one molecule was curiously missing - propylene, the main ingredient in plastic number 5. Now, thanks to NASA's Cassini spacecraft, scientists have detected propylene on Titan for the first time, solving a long-standing mystery about the solar system's most Earthlike moon.