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2010 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Titan Reporting  |  SEP 2009 – AUG 2010

Task 1.2 Interaction of Methane/ethane With Water Ice

Project Summary

The extent to which hydrocarbon liquids interact with the bedrock water ice sets the stage for reactions leading to the formation of prebiotic oxygen-containing organic compounds on the Titan surface.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Co-Investigator Christophe Sotin in collaboration with Postdoctoral Fellow Mathieu Choukroun and others pursued laboratory experiments aimed at investigating the interaction of hydrocarbons with water ice. Progresses involved the purchase of a new chamber to carry out laboratory experiments that simulate the interaction of liquid hydrocarbons with water ice (Figure 1).

Titan Ice Surface Wetting Apparatus

Figure 1: Wetting of mono-crystalline ice. After performing several experiments on the wetting of porous ice at 90 K (Titan’s surface temperature), we have investigated the wetting properties on single-crystal ice. The image was taken during the experiment. It shows that the hydrocarbons wet the cracks which are present in the crystal.

    Christophe Sotin Christophe Sotin
    Project Investigator
    Mathieu Choukroun

    Objective 1.1
    Formation and evolution of habitable planets.

    Objective 2.2
    Outer Solar System exploration

    Objective 3.1
    Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts

    Objective 3.2
    Origins and evolution of functional biomolecules

    Objective 3.3
    Origins of energy transduction