2009 Annual Science Report
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Titan Reporting | JUL 2008 – AUG 2009
Task 1.2 Interaction of Methane/ethane With Water Ice
The degree of mixing on the Titan surface between liquid hydrocarbons and the icy water surface establishes a potential for reactions that could form prebiotic compounds.
Co-Investigator Christophe Sotin has prepared a laboratory simulation of the mixing between liquid hydrocarbons and water ice. The laboratory simulation is now working well. Drops of methane or ethane are produced and fall on an ice target (Figure 1). Experiments on ice targets with different grain size and porosity have been performed. These experiments show that the amount of hydrocarbon which can be trapped into the ice is very large. A first paper is in preparation and an invited talk at the next AGU meeting (Sotin et al., 2009) will describe the results and the applications for the replenishment of Titan’s lakes in hydrocarbons.
PROJECT INVESTIGATORS:Christophe Sotin
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 1.1
Formation and evolution of habitable planets.
Outer Solar System exploration
Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts
Origins and evolution of functional biomolecules
Origins of energy transduction