Presentation on theme: "Mission to Titan KELSEY Photo source:"— Presentation transcript:
1 Mission to TitanKELSEYPhoto source:Natalia Alvarez • Kelsey Bertamus • Michael Morgan • Talia Strait • Natalie Taylor
2 KELSEYOur mission will bring us to Saturn, 9.5 astronomical units from the Sun and varying between 7 and 11 astronomical units from earth.Titan is one of 62 moons that orbit Saturn and the second largest moon in the solar system (point out titan in lower left corner)Photo source:
4 Bulk Characteristics of Titan Diameter: 5,150 kmAverage Density: g/cm3Surface Temperature: 97KSurface Pressure: 1.5 barsTheorized to have an interior liquid layer composed of ammonia and water iceKELSEY*Titan is 5,150 km in diameter, larger than Earth’s moon. Titan is also LARGER than the planet mercury but only 40% as massive because it is made primarily of ice and rock whereas mercury contains an iron core.Interestingly, the Cassini mission as will be discussed later found that there may be a liquid layer composed of water and ammonia between the ice crust and deeper high-pressure ice layers. Theoretically, the presence of ammonia may allows the water to remain liquid.Photo source:Background source:
5 Guide to Titan Titan parallels early Earth Lakes, Atmosphere, Clouds, Rain, Volcanoes, Plate Tectonics.Only other body in solar system known to harbor stable liquids on its surface.Weather cycleGood indications for life or at the very least, pre-earth conditions.MICHAELTitan’s surfaceWhy are we interested?Titan is the only body in the solar system other than Earth to have lakes, rivers, clouds, and a cycle of evaporation and mist or rainfall connecting them all. But on Titan, where temperatures hover around minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit, the flowing liquids are hydrocarbons like methane and ethane, not water.Titan is the only world beyond Earth known to harbor stable liquids on its surface.The moon has a weather cycle just like our planet does, although Titan’s is based on hydrocarbons rather than water.These liquids cycle between the atmosphere, surface and subsurface, and the huge moon’s lakes are an integral part of this process.“some of the things we see happening in our own backyard are right there on Titan to study and learn from” – Cassini team member.Between volcanism, methane found in all three points, cycles, these are good indications of microbial life – like we talked about earlier.Our goal through this mission is to study some of these geographic features more intimately.Our focus being a lake in the south pole.Photo source:
6 Atmosphere Only known moon with an atmosphere. 1.45 Denser than Earth’s1.19 times as massive.Result of volcanism or microbial life.Like a young planet Earth.Research simulated atmospheric conditions and were given the building blocks of life.MICHAELPhoto source:What is replenishing the atmosphere? Believed to be volcanoes. Could be microbial life.Also contains: hydrocarbons, ethane, diacetylene, methylacetylene, acetylene and propane, cyanoacetylene, hydogren cyanide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, cyanogen, argon, and helium. Less ethane / methane in the winter season since it precipitates?In October of 2010 in the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Pasadena, California, researchers described how they used radio-frequency radiation—a more convenient substitute for ultraviolet sunlight—to turn methane, nitrogen, and carbon monoxide (the main constituents of Titan's atmosphere) into glycine and alanine, the two smallest amino acids. The experiments also produced cytosine, adenine, thymine, and guanine, the four most basic components of DNA. And they created uracil, a precursor of RNA.It should be also noted that they accomplished this without using water, and an implication of this is that Earth’s life could have evolved in the atmosphere.Obviously there are more things about the geological features of saturn’s moon to study so that we may not only search for extraterrestrial microbial life (or evidence), but also for understanding how life may have started on our planet
7 Rain on TitanRecorded evidence of methane rainstorms on Titan in 2010.Occurred over equator, rather than at poles.Replenishes methane lakes and river systems.Skepticism on whether this is any indication of life.MICHAELPhoto source:Another quality Titan shares with Earth is its ability to rain.When photos showed a large patch near the equator of Titan mysteriously darken and then grow lighter within a couple of weeks, scientists knew something big was happening on Saturn's largest moon. But what they found was something they didn't expect: a methane rainstorm in a region of Titan thought to be covered by vast, arid dunes.While the large moon is known to have methane lakes at its north and south poles, scientists thought Titan's equatorial region was mostly dry, but the likely cause of the darkness was determined to be an outburst of clouds and methane rain — which suggests Titan's equator has a rainy season. [Photos: The Rings and Moons of Saturn]Rain rarely occurs along poles.Scientists are skeptic as to what degree the rain cycle would be condusive for life / is not a suggestion for habitability. But again, this could be anthropomophizing expectations of the conditions of life, and this cycling of nutrients could affect methane based life or other forms of life that we have yet to fathom.cycling of nutrients / triple point could be important for extraterrestrial life forms.This photo was taken on October 18th, 2010 shows the clouds hovering over Titan’s equator.Unanswered questions: What are the effects of the rain cycle on the desert?
8 MICHAELPhoto source:Titan has weather patterns! The transition between seasons brings along a change in weather patterns. As you can see, these can be very dramatic in comparison to the earth: the rain follows the change in Summer.seasonal change of ITCS (intertropical convergence zone) is more dramatic.
9 Methane LakesThanks to Triple Point and rain, Methane Lakes exist on Titan’s surfaceOnly known terrestrial body other than Earth to have stable liquids on its surface.Not difficult to land.An enormous lake on Saturn’s moon.Updates from this spring have shifted how we view this lake.We know certain parts behave like a mudflat on our planet.What is a mudflat? How does this shift our mission?Liquid methane flows in and out.Will be doing an incredibly close fly by on May 21st. 955 km away from Titan.Cassini spacecraft finds evidence for long-standing channels etched into the southern end of the bed.So it wouldn’t be difficult to land there, especially in the winter.
10 Cryovolcano Winter, S Hemisphere. Sotra Facula is a cryovolcano Emits water with ammonium, or polyethylene, paraffin waxes, or asphalt. Possibly replenishes methane in atmosphere.Located at 12degrees S / degrees W235 km wideSince, radiation should constantly be depleting the atmosphere, something on Titan’s surface need to be replenishing the source of methane in its atmosphere. As we mentioned earlier, one of those sources could be mathogenic life. Another source, however, could be active volcanoes on its surface.Other evidence for volcanic activity comes from the great variety in geographic landscape. The mountains rise more than 3,000 feet in the air, and the hole sinks 5,000 feet below. Geophysicist Randolph kirk of the U.S. Geological Survey concludes that these physical qualities indicate volcanic activity (whether dormant or active is question).Ammonia water lava.
11 Habitability of Titan Titan’s PHI is 0.64 Solid Surface Atmosphere Evidence of tectonicsAtmosphereNitrogen and HydrocarbonsBelieved to be similar to Earth’s atmosphere before oxygen was introducedSurface LiquidTitan’s 93K surface temperature is directly above the triple point for methane (90.68K)KELSEYSo why send a mission to Titan? Titan has a 0.64 on the planetary habitability index. A high ranking.Some of the factors that Michael just discussed play into this high PHI ranking- the presence of a solid surface and plate tectonics (results from the Cassini mission show regular spacing of ridges on Titan’s surface, evidence of compression or extension of the crust over large areas). Also, the atmosphere of nitrogen and hydrocarbons, and the presence of surface liquid- in Titan’s case, methane and ethane.
12 This image illustrates a new way to rank planet habitability that just came out this year. Rather than basing it on a planet’s similarity to earth, astronomers are expanding this to focus on conditions considered necessary or beneficial for life (which would take into consideration methane-based life forms). As you see in this image, Earth does not have a perfect score with this index because it lacks tidal flexing (though tidal flexing did happen in the past when the Moon was very near the Earth). Titan comes in second place behind Earth in the Solar System, beating Mars by a margin. Titan loses points because it does not contain the elements Sulfur and Phosphorus as far as we can tell, and lacks in redox reactions and tidal flexing.Photo source:
13 Triple PointThe temperature and pressure at which the three phases (gas, liquid, and solid) of that substance coexist in equilibrium.Different changes in temp and pressure transform substance to ice, liquid, vapor.EARTH’S SURFACE: temps and pressures similar to the triple pt of WATER.TITAN’S SURFACE: temps and pressures similar to the triple pt of METHANE.NATALIEPhoto source:A little chem review that goes along with our presentation:The triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases (gas, liquid, and solid) of that substance coexist in equilibrium.For ex, the triple point of water on earth occurs at K and 6.04 x10-3 atmAt that point, it is possible to change all of the substance to ice, liquid, vapor by making changes in temperature and pressure.Water can exist in all three states of matter on Earth.The temperature and pressure at Titan’s surface are very close to the triple point of methane.Image Source:
14 Possibility for Methanogenic Life 2005 – Chris McKay suggested that methane-based (rather than water-based) life on Titan could consume hydrogen, acetylene, and ethane – i.e. organisms called methanogens.EARTH = O2 metabolismNATALIEPhoto source:In 2005 – Chris McKay suggested that methane-based life on Titan could consume hydrogen, acetylene, and ethane – i.e. organisms called methanogens.In a way that is analogous to water-based life on EarthThis is an equation of Earth’s O2 metabolic life processes basically the eqns for photosynthesis and cellular respirationLife’s metabolic processes on earth function with this eqn.C6H12O6 (glucose) + O2 -> CO2 + H2OPhoto show is of Earth-based methanogens. We do not know if Titan’s methanogens would look like this.Image Source:C6H12O6 (glucose) + O2 -> CO2 + H2O
15 C2H2 (acetylene) + 3H2 -> 2CH4 Methanogenic Life (continued)Titan’s organisms would:Inhale H2 instead of O2React it with acetylene (or CO2) instead of glucoseExhale methane instead of carbon dioxideWater is widespread on Earth, therefore life is widespread on Earth because it uses water.Analogous to Earth = Liquid methane lakes are widespread on the surface of Titan.NATALIEImage: this is an image of methanogenic life found on earth.Photo source:Titan’s organisms would:Inhale H2 instead of O2React it with acetylene (or CO2) instead of glucoseExhale methane instead of carbon dioxide.Liquid methane lakes are widespread on the surface of Titan.Analogous to Earth: Life is widespread on Earth because it uses water and water is widespread on Earth.TITAN= H2 metabolismC2H2 (acetylene) + 3H2 -> 2CH4Photo source:
16 The Miller-Urey Experiment The Experiment (1953):INORGANIC components ORGANIC components in conditions similar to pre-biotic Earth.Warm water + four gases [H2O, CH4, NH3, and H2] + electrical dischargesFormed simple organic molecules, including amino acids and RNA nucleotides.Formed the idea that on pre-biotic Earth there existed an abundance of RNA life produced through chemical reactions.In the search for extraterrestrial life? Helps to understand the conditions required for life to form.Titan’s atmosphere lacks oxygen, but complex organic molecules are present. Could form biological materials in a pre-biotic habitat resembling that of early Earth.NATALIEPhoto source:1953 – Urey and Miller produced organic molecules from the inorganic components thought to have been present on pre-biotic Earth.Warm water combined with four gases:H2O, CH4, NH3, and H2Pulsed with electrical discharges.One week later, they found simple organic molecules, including amino acids and RNA nucleotides, had formed.There was the idea that on Earth there existed an abundance of RNA life produced through pre-biotic chemical reactions.Relates to the search for extraterrestrial life to understand the conditions required for life to form.Titan’s atmosphere lacks oxygen, but complex organic molecules are present there. Could form biological materials in a pre-biotic habitat resembling that of early Earth.Photo source:
17 Titan as a Prebiotic Environment? Possible host for microbial extraterrestrial life because of its pre-biotic-like environment rich in complex organic chemistry.Possibly subsurface liquid ocean serving as a biotic environment.Implications of a possible ammonia-water ocean inside Titan.NATALIEPhoto source:Yellow = hazy surface of TitanLight gray = ice layer starting near the surfaceBlue = internal oceanLight gray = another layer of iceDark gray = mixture of rock and ice in the interior
18 Past Mission: Cassini-Huygens NASA / ESA / ASI Spacecraft to study Saturn and its satellites.Launched in 1997, reached system in 2004Cassini: first to enter Saturn’s orbit.To study structure and history of the rings and satellite surfaces.Studies Titan’s cloud, hazes, and regional surfaces.(Talia)“This world is built by organic activities which still operate and Cassini/Huygens findings suggest a world with a balance of geologic and atmospheruic processes that is the solar system’s best analogue to Earth” (Wikipedia)Mission related to Titan:To study the time variability of Titan’s clouds and hazesCharacterize Titan’s surface on a regional scaleInstruments on Cassini: radar to penetrate the haze, signals bounce of Titan’s surface and times return to map surface-Instrument to receive and measure radio signals—would determine electron density and temperaturePhoto source:
19 Huygens Probe Reached Titan Jan 14th, 2005 Sent data for 90 minutes after touchdown.Designed to brake in atmosphere and parachute a robotic lab to the surface.Sent signals to Cassini to relay back to Earth.(Talia)*separated from orbiter on Dec 25, 2004 and landed on Jan 14, 2005-coasted in free space for 22 days with the only active system being the wake-up timer*remains most distant landing*landed near Xanadu Region*Designed to gather data for a few hours in the atmosphere, and a short time at the surface…sent data for about 90 minutes after touchdown*Design: to enter and brake in atmosphere and parachute a fully instrumented robotic lab to surface*Was designed to survive impact and splash-down on a liquid surface or solid*After ~3 2.5 hours, Cassini turned away, but other radio telescopes on Earth continued to listen*Picture is of approximate landing areaPhoto:
20 Photo source: http://www. visionsofthecosmos. co
21 Huygens Design Heat shield and parachute. 6 Types of Instrumentation to study:Physical and electrical props of atmosphereRadiation balance in Titan’s atmosphereChemicals in Titan’s atmosphereVolatiles and decompose complex organic materialsPhysical properties at point of impact.(Talia)Designed to be able to handle a liquid or surface landing, as not that sure about surface of Titan at that point in timeInstrumentation:Atmospheric Structure Instrument: measured physical and electrical props of atmosphere…could get density, wind gusts, wave motion in case of liquid landingAlso contained a microphoneDoppler Wind Experiment—data lost because of failure of ground controllers to turn on receiver in Cassini orbiterVertical wind shearDescent Imager/Spectral Radiometer—study radiation balance in Titan’s atmosphereGas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer—to identify and measure chemicals in Titan’s atmosphereAerosol Collector and Pyrolyser—to vaporize volatiles and decompose complex organic materialsSurface-Science Package—to determine physical properties at point of impactPhoto source:
22 Huygens Findings Landed in “Titanian Mud” Rounded pebbles imply possible fluid motion.Dense cloud or thick haze ~ 18 – 20 km from surface.(Talia)Landed in “Titanian Mud”Rounded pebbles imply possible fluid motion.-early imaging showed large drainage channels crossing mainland into a dark sea-At landing site, indications of chunks of water ice scattered over an orange surface, majority of which is covered by a thin haze of methane-Later analysis suggested more of a “sand” made of ice grainsDense cloud or thick haze ~ 18 – 20 km from surface.-Thermometers showed such fast heat wicking that ground must have been damp; one image shows light relfected by a dewdrop-feeble sunlight allows only 1cm of evaporation/year (1 meter on Earth), but atmosphere can hold equivalent of about 10 meters of liquid before rain formsHuygens landed in “Titanian mud”…indications of chunks of water ice scattered over an orange surface, covered by haze of methanePhoto source:
23 Two New Proposals: TSSM and TiME Titan Saturn System MissionConsists of an orbiter and 2 probes.More features than Huygens.Titan Mare ExplorerLand in and travel around a methane lake.To sample and analyze organics for 3 – 6 months.New power source: Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator.(Talia)TSSM: Proposed to launch in 2020, arrive in 2029 with 20-month orbit phase2 probes: one hot air balloon to measure atmosphere, one lander to splashdown in methane seasEquipped to study features with instruments for imaging, radar profiling, surface and atmospheric sampling (more complete than C-H mission)TiME: proposed as its own mission, but could be combined with TSSM as the landerExpected to travel around the lake by wind, no self-propulsionTarget a northern polar sea, descend by parachutePrinciple function is to sample and analyze organics for 3-6 monthsCannot be powered by solar panels due to haze and distance from sun, so would rely on Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (14 year liftetime)photosource:
24 Goals of TSSM & TiME Explore Titan as a system. Study Titan’s organic inventory and astrobiological potentialConstrain Titan’s origin and evolution models.Recover information on Enceladus and Saturn’s magnetosphere.(Talia)Explore Titan as a systemComposition, geographic distribution; methane cycle info; ages of surface features; season changesStudy Titan’s organic inventory and astrobiological potentialTiME would directly discern methane cycle and help understand relation to hydrologic cycle on EarthConstrain Titan’s origin and evolution modelsRecover information on Enceladus and Saturn’s magnetosphere“This world is built by organic activities which still operate and Cassini/Huygens findings suggest a world with a balance of geologic and atmosphereic processes that is the solar system’s best analogue to Earth”Photo source:
25 Mission: PLOT Landing on Titan Probe for Life and Organics on Titan Land in Lake Ontario LacusPossibly explore nearby cryovolcanoLook for Evidence of Life: CO2, acetylene, amino acids, enzymes, isotopic fingerprintsUse Cassini to relay back dataNATALIAI would like some information about the volcano and location of the landing
26 Landing on Titan Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Powerful generator currently being developed by NASA.≥14 year lifetimeMass ~ 20 kgUses 0.8 kg plutonium-238January 2015NATALIAI would like some information about the volcano and location of the landingSource: NASA
27 Testing Testing Mass Spectrometer Composite Infrared Spectrometer Test for hotspots in lakeMOD IIISeismometerCameraNATALIAPhoto source:Image Source: NASA
28 Mission Target- Ontario Lacus Located at 72° S & 183°WComposed of methane, ethane, and propane.Volume: 7-50 km3KELSEYCassini took a detailed radar-image of Ontario Lacus that showed some remarkable features. The northern shoreline features hills about 1 kilometer in altitude, and flooded river valleys. A smooth, wave-sculpted shoreline in the northeastern part of the lake. Waves driven by winds sweeping in from the west or southwest. The southeast shore features a round-headed bay intruding into the shore.The middle part of the western shoreline shows the first well-developed river delta observed on Titan.Average depth thought to be 0.4 – 3.2 m, and a maximum depth of 2.9 – 7.4 m. This gives the lake an estimated volume of 7 to 50 km3, less than one thirtieth the volume of Earth's Lake Ontario.
29 Ontario LacusKELSEYDiagram of lacation of Ontario lacus
30 Tour of Ontario Lacus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK4n5l7bHSw Photo source:
31 2017: Launch 2024: Land Timeline Timeline The goal is to land and test during winter in the Southern Hemisphere.TaliaWe want winter because lake is full and life more likely to thrive in wet conditions3 year transition to winter in S Hemisphere started in Winter in S. Hemisphere until 2025.Or 2045 in middle of next winter.
33 Cost of Mission Cost of Mission Proposed Cost: 1 billion Includes cost of designing and launching a new probe.Use of the orbiter from the Cassini mission will cut costsCassini-Huygens mission (launched 1997) cost NASA 3.2 billion!NATALIA
34 … is expensive but IMPORTANT! The Search for LifeBibliography… is expensive but IMPORTANT!It’s important because Titan is in many ways a young Earth. This could provide insight into the origins of life, or at the veryleast, provide a grounds for researching an early earth.