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 Midwife and signpost for photons
11.12.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht New research identifies how 3-D printed metals can be both strong and ductile
11.12.2017 | University of Birmingham

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: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>