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The Surface Composition of Titan

Clark, R.N. and Pearson, N. and Brown, R.H. and Cruikshank, D. P. and Barnes, J. and Jaumann, R. and Soderblom, L.A. and Griffith, C. and Rannou, P. and Rodriguez, S. and le Mouelic, S. and Lunine , J. and Sotin, C. and Baines, K.H. and Buratti, B.J. and Nicholson, P.D. and Nelson, R.M. and Stephan, K. (2012) The Surface Composition of Titan. 44th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, 14.-19.10.12, Reno, Nevada,USA.

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Abstract Mapping the surface composition of Titan with the Cassini Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) requires knowledge of the atmospheric absorption in the windows through which VIMS can observe the surface as well as the spectral properties of candidate materials. Recent atmospheric models are refining that knowledge. Titan's surface, in the VIMS spectral range, is seen in only a few spectral windows, near 0.94, 1.1, 1.3, 1.6, 2.0, 2.68-2.78, and 4.9-5.1 microns. Atmospheric models fail to fit the the observed spectra on the long wavelength side of the 2-micron window without invoking surface absorption at 2.1 microns. This new knowledge, along with the spectral shapes of the 2.68-2.78-micron, and 5-micron windows provide powerful constraints on Titan's surface composition. Water ice is incompatible with the observed 2.78/2.68 micron I/F ratio but likely exists below the surface. Many organic compounds have absorptions that are not seen in spectral windows of Titan, eliminating them as possible major components at the surface, including many polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). We find that some ring compounds and compounds with single N-H bonds have a close match to Titan's overall spectrum and can explain the relative intensities observed in the spectral windows, including the 2.68 and 2.78-micron double window, the low 3-5 micron reflectance, and increased absorption near 2.1-microns. Glycine is the only NH2 compound we have found that is also compatible. Combinations of coronene (C24H12), phenanthene (C14H12), pentacene (C22H14), indole (C8H7N), uracil (C4H4N2O2), and glycine (NH2CH2C00H) match the overall spectral structure of Titan spectra. We are searching for additional compounds that are also compatible. Indole, cytosine, and uracil, have 1.5-micron bands that are similar to the feature observed in Huygens DISR spectra of Titan's surface. These compounds, if present, can also help explain the pyrolysis results from the Huygens probe.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/80293/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Title:The Surface Composition of Titan
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Clark, R.N.US Geological SurveyUNSPECIFIED
Pearson, N.US Geological SurveyUNSPECIFIED
Brown, R.H.U. ArizonaUNSPECIFIED
Cruikshank, D. P.NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Jaumann, R. ralf.jaumann (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Soderblom, L.A.United States Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZUNSPECIFIED
Griffith, C.U. ArizonaUNSPECIFIED
Rannou, P.Service d’Ae´ronomie, Universite de Versailles-St-Quentin, Verrie´res le Buisson, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Rodriguez, S.U. Paris, FranceUNSPECIFIED
le Mouelic, S.U. Nantes, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Lunine , J.Cornell UUNSPECIFIED
Baines, K.H.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Buratti, B.J.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CAUNSPECIFIED
Nicholson, P.D.Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USAUNSPECIFIED
Nelson, R.M.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CAUNSPECIFIED
Stephan, K. katrin.stephan (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:October 2012
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Surface Composition of Titan
Event Title:44th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society
Event Location:Reno, Nevada,USA
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:14.-19.10.12
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Space Exploration
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben CASSINI (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geology
Deposited By: Aydin, Zeynep
Deposited On:09 Jan 2013 11:08
Last Modified:09 Jan 2013 11:08

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