Planetary Radio • Jan 17, 2018

It’s a Hard Rain on Titan

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On This Episode

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Sean Faulk

Gradute Student for UCLA Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences

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Jonathan Mitchell

Associate Professor of Planetary Science for UCLA Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

A computer model based on our best data about Saturn’s cloud-shrouded moon says that torrential liquid methane pounds the surface far more frequently than previously expected. Sean Faulk and Jonathan Mitchell of UCLA explain. The Planetary Society’s Jason Davis takes us to another ocean world that will receive a visitor in the mid-2020s. A total lunar eclipse arrives on the last day of January. Bruce Betts helps us prepare in this week’s What’s Up.

Titan's Lake District
Titan's Lake District Cassini flew past Titan 127 times during its time at Saturn. This map of Titan's lakes and seas near the moon's northern polar region was created from numerous Cassini radar scans. The three largest seas are Punga Mare (closest to the pole), Ligeia Mare, and the biggest, Kraken Mare.Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech

This week's question:

What was the first in space docking of two robotic (unmanned) spacecraft?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, January 24th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

As measured by surface area, what is the largest known body of liquid on Saturn’s moon Titan?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

Who chose the names of the Galilean moons of Jupiter?


The Galilean moons of Jupiter were named by German astronomer, mathematician and medical doctor Simon Marius, from a suggestion by Johannes Kepler.