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Experimental simulation of Titanʹs atmosphere: Detection of ammonia and ethylene oxide
Author/Authors :
Bernard، نويسنده , , J.-M. and Coll، نويسنده , , P. and Coustenis، نويسنده , , A. and Raulin، نويسنده , , F.، نويسنده ,
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روزنامه با شماره پیاپی سال 2003
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Abstract :
For several years now, an experimental simulation of Titanʹs atmosphere has been on going at LISA. A cold plasma is established in a gas mixture representative of the atmosphere of the satellite. In these experiments, more than 70 organic compounds have been identified, including the first identification in this type of experimental simulation of C4N2 already detected in its solid form on Titan, which suggests that the setup correctly mimics the chemistry of Titanʹs atmosphere. e carried out the first experimental simulation including O-containing compounds in order to study the influence of the presence of CO on the chemical behavior of Titanʹs atmosphere. With the help of gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) and infrared spectroscopy (IRS) we can thus determine which minor species still undetected in Titanʹs atmosphere are likely to be present and understand the complex chemistry of the atmosphere of this satellite. Surprisingly we have identified unpredicted O-containing gaseous compounds, mainly ethylene oxide (also named oxirane, C2H4O). This molecule has been observed in the interstellar medium by observation in the millimeter region (Astrophys. J. 489 (1997) 553; Astron. Astrophys. 337 (1998) 275). On the contrary, the predicted O-compounds (formaldehyde and methanol) have not been identified in this experiment. Furthermore, we have identified NH3 in the gaseous products with an initial mixture of N2 (98%) and CH4 (2%). per describes the experimental device used in this work, in particular the IRS and GC–MS techniques. We also comment the results related to the detection of the O-containing compounds and NH3 and their implications on our knowledge of the chemistry of Titanʹs atmosphere and on the retrieval of the future Titan data expected from Cassini-Huygens.
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