In all the great sci-fi written about Saturn's moon Titan, no one (to my knowledge) imagined a world where liquid methane carves the land as water does here. (The NASA image comes from Resa.Net.)
But that's just what Europe's Huygens probe has shown us.
It's a flammable world, but a beautiful one.
Here's the "money quote" from mission director Jean-Pierre Lebreton. "There are truly remarkable processes at work on Titan's surface and in the atmosphere of Titan which are very, very similar to those occurring on Earth."
Which leads to some nasty environmental speculation.
Let's say that, in the distant future, men travel to the stars using hydrogen rockets (as they do now).
These rockets will need to be recharged, and the best fuel for fuel cells (creating both hydrogen for fuel and oxygen for the crew, then discharging water as they burn) is currently methane.
Would you destroy Saturn's moon for a fill-up?
And you think the monolith would stop you?