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NASA Scientist to Discuss Saturn's Largest Moon at Library of Congress Lecture
June 20, 2014



The public is invited to a free talk called “Saturn’s Moon Titan: A Future Abode for Life” with Dr. Carrie Anderson in the Pickford Theater,  third floor, Madison Building, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. on Thursday June 26 at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

"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," Anderson said. Dr. Carrie Anderson is the Associate Chief at the Goddard Planetary Systems Laboratory of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

"The four main elements carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen are the main building blocks of life as we know it," she noted. "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."

Anderson will explain that the sun has leisurely been consuming its hydrogen fuel.  Once it's hydrogen fuel is almost 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. Once the sun's core is hot enough, it will begin to burn helium. This leads into a second stable phase but with a much higher luminosity than the present-day sun. This in turn moves the solar system's habitable zone from Earth out to Titan. Anderson is a  Cassini spacecraft participating scientist. She is deeply involved in analyzing data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft that has direct bearing on the subject matter in this talk.

The Library of Congress maintains one of the largest and most diverse collections of scientific and technical information in the world. The Science, Technology and Business Division provides reference and bibliographic services and develops the general collections of the library in all areas of science, technology, business and economics. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/.

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world and holds nearly 151.8 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The library serves Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.

For inquiries about this or upcoming talks at the Library of Congress, the public can contact the LOC Science, Technology and Business Division at 202-707-5664. ADA accommodations should be requested five business days in advance at 202-707-6382 (voice/tty) or ada@loc.gov.

The lecture will be later broadcast on the Library’s webcast page and YouTube channel “Topics in Science” playlist.

For more information visit: http://blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/

Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

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Image of Titan, Saturn's moon.
Hovering over Titan. Nov. 23, 2004.
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NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
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Promotional poster for free talk called “Saturn’s Moon Titan: A Future Abode for Life” with Dr. Carrie Anderson in the Pickford Theater, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., June 26 at 11:30 a.m. EDT.
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Library of Congress
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Page Last Updated: June 20th, 2014
Page Editor: Rob Garner