We are looking for the source of the atmosphere on Titan

We are looking for the source of the atmosphere on Titan

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captures Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, sweeping the planetary rings in the foreground.

There is an assumption that the dense atmospheric layer around the largest satellite of Saturn Titan may occur from organic material created in the inner part of the moon. It is the dense atmosphere of Titan that attracts the attention of scientists. It is represented mainly by gaseous nitrogen (liquid methane and ethane oceans).

The atmosphere of Titan in thickness exceeds that of the earth. But what is interesting is that this is the second celestial body in the solar system with a large amount of liquid on the surface. Due to the presence of complex molecules, including organic matter (contain carbon), the satellite is considered a promising place for the development of life.

However, Titan is the only satellite in our system with a decent atmosphere. Therefore, it is important to understand what is the source. The main theory is that ammonia ice from comets was transformed into nitrogen by exposure or photochemistry to form Titan's atmosphere. This is an important process, but it ignores the presence of complex organic material.

In addition, the composition of the atmosphere of Titan does not quite match the types of nitrogen and other materials found in comets. And only 5% of the atmospheric layer of the moon came from methane, which quickly reacts with the formation of organic matter that can fall to the surface. Then how does it appear? The scientists decided to carefully study the information received by the Rosette spacecraft from comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The analysis showed that it is half ice, a quarter of stone and another quarter of organic material. These materials, which were present in the early solar system, could also form Titan.

Comets and primitive bodies in the outer solar system are of great interest because they are considered remnants of the building blocks of the system. They could merge into larger bodies, like Titan, so you can find dense and rich in organic matter rocky material in the core.

We are looking for the source of the atmosphere on Titan

Data from the three flights of the Cassini spacecraft form a mosaic of Titan, reflecting the dense atmosphere behind which the surface hides.

Calculations show that a particular type of organic material in comets, if it were in the core of Titan, can produce gases like the current atmosphere of the moon. This is indicated by thermal models of the satellite, demonstrating a complex environment that can replenish or even create most of the atmosphere of Titan. So, half of the nitrogen atmosphere and all the methane can come from organic matter, heated by the warm interior of the moon.

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