Friday, September 4, 2009

Titan Mare Explorer Abstract

Since the links to the abstract for this poster keep breaking, I'm posting the abstract here.

Title Titan Mare Explorer (time): A Discovery Mission To A Titan Sea
Author Block Ellen R. Stofan1, J. Lunine2, R. Lorenz3, O. Aharonson4, E. Bierhaus5, B. Clark6, R. Kirk7, B. Kantsiper3, B. Morse3
1Proxemy Research, 2University of Arizona, 3APL, 4California Institute of Technology, 5Lockheed Martin, 6Space Science Institute, 7USGS.
Abstract The discovery of lakes and seas in Titan’s high latitudes confirmed the expectation that liquid hydrocarbons exist on the surface of the haze-shrouded moon. The lakes and seas fill through drainage of subsurface runoff and/or intersection with the subsurface alkanofer, providing the first evidence for an active condensable-liquid hydrological cycle on another planetary body. The unique nature of Titan’s methane cycle, along with the prebiotic chemistry and implications for habitability, make the lakes and seas of the highest scientific priority for in situ investigation.
The Titan Mare Explorer mission is an ASRG (Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator)-powered mission to a sea on Titan. The mission would be the first exploration of a planetary sea beyond Earth, would demonstrate the ASRG both in deep space and a non-terrestrial atmosphere environment, and pioneer low-cost outer planet missions. The scientific objectives of the mission are to: determine the chemistry of a Titan sea to constrain Titan’s methane cycle; determine the depth of a Titan sea; characterize physical properties of liquids; determine how the local meteorology over the seas ties to the global cycling of methane; and analyze the morphology of sea surfaces, and if possible, shorelines, in order to constrain the kinetics of liquids and better understand the origin and evolution of Titan lakes and seas. The focused scientific goals, combined with the new ASRG technology and the unique mission design, allows for a new class of mission at much lower cost than previous outer planet exploration has required.

1 comment:

  1. Organics is what life is made of.
    go for it!!!