Swimming in Methane Lakes on Titan

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Snowwie
Asternaut
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Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 10:36 pm

Swimming in Methane Lakes on Titan

Postby Snowwie » Sat May 20, 2017 11:03 pm

I am confused if this is actually possible.

Why?

Titan has:
- Less gravity (so less force to pull you down)
- Liquid methane has half the density of water (so less friction means faster sinking)

Viscosity:
- The liquid methane in the moons' lakes seem very smooth, hinting to a viscous body of fluid.
- Liquid Methane is known to be a bad solvent, so how could it be viscous?
- Titan atmosphere is 1.5 times thicker than Earth, combined with the intense could it would feel 4,5 times thicker, so a little breeze should easily make the methane move.
- But liquid methane is half the density of water, maybe it just does not have enough density to form waves. Like trying to build a sand castle with very dry sand, that won't work either, it would collapse into itself. Maybe this is preventing the liquid methane from forming waves.

So. I want to take a plunge in Kraken Mare. I don't need a pressure suit, that's for sure. I do need to bring my oxygen and a very well isolated suit. If that suit contains my heat not 100% then I will definitely sink directly to the bottom because the liquid methane will evaporate underneath me. But let's say I use a 100% insulated suit, CAN I SWIM IN THE METHANE LAKES? Or will I just sink to the bottom?

Is there, in 2017, still nothing known about the average viscosity of the liquid methane?

What are the future realistic plans to go back to Titan?

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neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
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Re: Swimming in Methane Lakes on Titan

Postby neufer » Sun May 21, 2017 4:42 am

Snowwie wrote:
I am confused if this is actually possible.

Titan has:
- Less gravity (so less force to pull you down)
- Liquid methane has half the density of water (so less friction means faster sinking)

Less gravity pulling down on the methane as well so you won't float (because of the low density)
but at 1/7th gravity (and with swim fins) you should have no trouble treading methane.

Snowwie wrote:
- The liquid methane in the moons' lakes seem very smooth, hinting to a viscous body of fluid.
- Liquid Methane is known to be a bad solvent, so how could it be viscous?
- Titan atmosphere is 1.5 times thicker than Earth, combined with the intense could it would feel 4,5 times thicker, so a little breeze should easily make the methane move.
- But liquid methane is half the density of water, maybe it just does not have enough density to form waves. Like trying to build a sand castle with very dry sand, that won't work either, it would collapse into itself. Maybe this is preventing the liquid methane from forming waves.

Methane is non-polar so it has less surface tension (and much less viscosity). However, that low surface tension means that it is easier to produce slow capillary waves at low wind speeds (especially due to the denser atmosphere).

Code: Select all

                     liquid water   liquid methane
----------------------------------------------------
density                 1 g/cc        0.45 g/cc
surface tension        70 dyne/cm    17 dyne/cm
viscosity               1.54 cP       0.184 cP
index of refraction     1.33          1.286

Snowwie wrote:
So. I want to take a plunge in Kraken Mare. I don't need a pressure suit, that's for sure. I do need to bring my oxygen and a very well isolated suit. If that suit contains my heat not 100% then I will definitely sink directly to the bottom because the liquid methane will evaporate underneath me.

The liquid methane will boil underneath you ... and thereby help to keep you up.

Snowwie wrote:
But let's say I use a 100% insulated suit, CAN I SWIM IN THE METHANE LAKES? Or will I just sink to the bottom?

You will sink due to the low density but at 1/7th gravity (and with swim fins) you should have no trouble treading methane.

Snowwie wrote:
Is there, in 2017, still nothing known about the average viscosity of the liquid methane?

See chart above.
Art Neuendorffer


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