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Chemistry at Titan, the enigmatic moon of Saturn

Submission Date :
8 / 29 / 2005 , 14 : 26 : 00
Abstract Number :
96082910226
Presenting Type:
Symposium
Presenting Area :
물리화학 - 외계의 화학종 (Chemical Species in Outer Space)
Authors :
Patricia M. Beauchamp
Life Detection Science and Technology Program office, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, U.S.A.,
Assigned Code :
금8B5심 Assigend Code Guideline
Presenting Time :
금 16시 : 30분
Titan, a natural satellite of Saturn, has been shrouded in mystery since its discovery by Christian Huygens in 1655. Titan’s surface was hidden from Voyagers 1 and 2, but the Cassini/Huygens data has begun to reveal some details. Titan’s atmosphere is a classical greenhouse troposphere overlain by a stratosphere consisting of mostly molecular nitrogen, with an admixture (2-10%) methane. Methane is condensed out in the troposphere by low temperature (95 K surface, 70 K @ 50 km), while it is photolytically converted to higher hydrocarbons in the stratosphere by ultraviolet photons from the Sun. Previous modeling had inferred an ethane-methane ocean on Titan, but so far, no liquid has been observed on the surface. However, it still appears that organics must be present on the surface and a source of methane must also be there. Understanding the generation of the organic molecules and the fate they undergo is key to understanding the chemistry on Titan. Cassini data will help elucidate this chemistry.