Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers to Study the Surface of Titan

25.01.2010
A University of Arkansas scientist has received funding from NASA to simulate conditions found on Saturn’s moon Titan to help better understand the origins of the liquids found on its surface and in its atmosphere.

Vincent Chevrier, assistant research professor in the Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences, conducted preliminary studies in a planetary environmental simulation chamber to show that it could be done. NASA awarded Chevrier $516,047 over five years, and the university will match half of that for a total of about $750,000.

Titan is the only satellite in the solar system that has a substantial atmosphere. The atmosphere is about 95 percent nitrogen, with small amounts of methane, hydrogen and hydrocarbons. The temperature of Titan’s surface is 290 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, so no liquid water exists on the moon’s surface. However, the space mission Cassini Huygens showed that liquid methane lakes, clouds and snow-topped mountains suggest a complex “hydrologic” cycle on Titan that involves organic molecules. Chevrier’s research will help determine the short- and long-term stability of light organic volatile compounds such as methane and ethane on the surface and subsurface of Titan. Knowing this could also help explain how the moone evolved.

“Our results will put strong constraints on the stability and behavior of liquid volatiles, and thus on the formation of pools and lakes on Titan, and help identify their source,” Chevrier said. “This will improve understanding of the formation of complex organic molecules in the atmosphere.”

... more about:
»NASA »Planetary »Science TV »Space »Titan »organic molecule

The researchers will use a dedicated simulation chamber to conduct experiments on the evaporation and sublimation rates of methane, ethane and mixtures of the two under conditions as close to those of Titan’s surface as possible.

Space Center scientists will be able to apply models that they have developed in the laboratory in the past several years to study sublimation and evaporation conditions found on Mars to Titan, and also to other planetary bodies.

The Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences is housed in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering.

CONTACTS:
Vincent Chevrier, research professor
Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences
479-575-3170, vchevrie@uark.edu
Melissa Lutz Blouin, director of science and research communications
University Relations
479-575-5555, blouin@uark.edu

Melissa Lutz Blouin | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uark.edu

Further reports about: NASA Planetary Science TV Space Titan organic molecule

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold
26.06.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>