2009 Annual Science Report
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Titan Reporting | JUL 2008 – AUG 2009
Task 3.3 Solubility of Organics in Methane
Liquid methane can serve as a solvent medium in which organic chemistry may occur in sites on the Titan surface.
Co-Investigator Robert Hodyss has designed and constructed a mass spectrometer system for the measurement of solutes in liquid methane/ethane. The system is shown in Figure 1. Briefly, a quadrupole mass spectrometer (SRS 200) in a small vacuum chamber is used to sample liquids through a capillary into the mass spectrometer. When measuring hydrocarbon solutions, the capillary is immersed in the hydrocarbon solution. Liquid drawn into the capillary rapidly vaporizes and is analyzed with the mass spectrometer. The system has been calibrated and checked for linearity with rare gas/methane gas mixtures, and experiments on liquid solutions of these will begin soon.
PROJECT INVESTIGATORS:Robert Hodyss
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