4

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.

 — (Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It)

7

The Moon of Lakes and Rivers - Saturn’s moon Titan

Saturn’s moon Titan is the only world - other than earth - that we know has liquid’s pooled on its surface. Unlike Earth, Titan has lakes of liquid methane - you wouldn’t want to swim in these lakes.

Titan’s “methane cycle” is analogy to Earth’s water cycle. In the 3rd and 4th images above we can see clouds of methane in Titan’s atmosphere. Ever since NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, we have known that the gases that make up Titan’s brown colored haze were hydrocarbons. The atmosphere of Titan is largely nitrogen; minor components lead to the formation of methaneethane clouds and nitrogen-rich organic smog.

It is thanks to the Cassini spacecraft that we now understand more about the climate of Titan - though we still understand very little!

The Cassini Space craft has mapped most of the Northern polar region of Titan, this is the region that contains almost all of Titan’s lakes. Cassini is systematically sweeping across Titan and mapping the surface of this strange alien world. The image below is an example of Cassini’s mapping process:

Credit: NASA/JPL/Cassini

Bayerischer Wald - Bavarian Forest. Der Bayerische Wald is a mountain region in Lower Bavaria, Southern Germany, situated between the Donau (Danube river) and the Czech and Austrian borders. It’s part of an unspoiled, heavily forested mountain region which also includes the Šumava (Bohemian Forest) in the Czech Republic. Within the region, there are more than 60 peaks over 1,000 m. Established in 1970, it is the oldest and largest national park in Germany. Together with the Czech Šumava National Park and the surrounding protected area, these form the largest protected forest area in Europe. The area is a nature lovers paradise, with glacial lakes, stunning mountain views, hundreds of kilometres of hiking and cycling trails and numerous opportunities for both downhill and cross-country skiing in winter. The region is also a renowned European glass-producing area. The Crystal Road (Glasstraße) is one of the most famous holiday routes in Bavaria.