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Saturn Titan's Biggest Moon Can Bake His Own Atmosphere



  Saturn's Titan's Biggest Moon Can Bake His Own Atmosphere

NASA's Cassini Spacecraft captures this view of Saturn's biggest moon, Titan, with Saturn rings in the foreground.

The dense atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, can come from organic materials baking in the moon's interior.

Titan captivates scientists for its thick atmosphere ̵

1; mostly nitrogen gas – and its liquid methane and ethane. Its atmosphere is thicker than Earth's, and it is the only other body of the solar system with large amounts of liquid on its surface.

Titan's complex molecules, including organic materials, carbon-containing substances make it a promising place for life to develop. (And a great place where one day can be explored with the help of the robot submarines.) [Titan Landing Pictures by Huygens Spacecraft]

"Titan has no doubt a lot of organic chemistry, so he's an undisputed source of curiosity," Kelly Miller, a researcher at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and the lead author of the new job, said in a statement.

"Since Titan is the only moon in our solar system with a significant atmosphere, scientists have long been wondering what its source is," Miller said. "The basic theory is that ammonia ice from comets has been transformed by effects or photochemistry , in nitrogen, to form the atmosphere of Titan. While this may still be an important process, it ignores the effects of what we now know is a very large part of the Comets: complex organic material.

The composition of Titan's atmosphere did not coincide completely with the types of nitrogen and other materials found in comets. Additionally, the 5 percent of Titan's atmosphere, made of methane, raised another question: react quickly to form organisms that will fall to the surface, so how is it filled? Miller's group believes the Rosetta spacecraft has gathered around the comet 67P / Churumov-Gerasimenko, who revealed that the comet is half ice, quarter rock and a quarter of organic material, according to the statement. These materials, present in the early solar system, may also have built Titan. "Comets and primitive bodies in the outer solar system are really interesting, because it is believed that building blocks of the solar system are believed to be," Miller said. said. "These small bodies can be included in larger bodies like Titan, and the dense, rich in organic rock material can be found in its core."

  The data from three of Cassini's titanic fields make up those mosaics on the object that show the dense atmosphere of the Moon blurring its surface.

The data from three of Cassini's titanium fields form these mosaics of the object, showing the dense atmosphere of the moon , which covers its surface. And, according to Miller's calculations, this type of organic material in comets, if it was at Titan's core, can produce gases similar to today's Moon atmosphere . Thermal models of the Moon's interior suggest a heated environment that can fill or even generate much of Titan's atmosphere.

"If you cook something, it will produce gas," Miller said. Approximately half of Titan's nitrogen atmosphere and all methane can be produced by burning organic matter in the warm moon interior, according to the statement.

The new work is described in detail on January 22 in The Astrophysical Journal.

Send an email to Sarah Lewin at slewin@space.com or follow it @SarahExplains . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Original article in Space.com


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