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2013 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Titan Reporting  |  SEP 2012 – AUG 2013

Task 3.6.1: A New Titan Chamber for Advancing Technology

Project Summary

The objective of this project is to develop a cryogenic chamber capable of simulating Titan’s lake conditions (1.5 bar N2 atmosphere, liquid mixtures of methane-ethane-propane in variable concentrations), and provide an experimental volume of 10 L. The purpose of this facility is to provide an environment for testing components and small instruments. Such a facility currently does not exist but is needed for achieving Technology Readiness Levels of 5/6. It will also be available to the community for scientific investigations such as measuring the equilibrium composition of lakes under realistic conditions, and exchanges between lakes and atmosphere.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

This year, we continued the development of the Titan Chamber and conducted initial tests. The development tasks involved: – Finalizing machining of parts and tubing, and setting up connections to the vent line and the gas handling systems (both newly built). – Installing the inner pressure vessel and all inlets/outlets for electrical and gas/liquid connections. – Installing an automated gate valve to protect the turbopump in case of failure of the inner vessel (safety requirement) – Installing temperature sensors and heaters on the system. – Developed a LabView code to operate and monitor the chamber.

The initial tests conducted encompassed basic high-vacuum testing and cooling/temperature control performance assessment. These tests revealed two issues with the system, namely the lack of performance of the pressure relief system and of the closed-cycle cryostat. Further design work and replacement parts have been purchased and will be implemented in the coming months.

Figure 1.
Photograph of the Titan Chamber. Close-up of the pressure vessel. The gas and electrical connections are not shown for clarity.