Putative cryomagma interaction with aerosols deposit at Titan's surface

Abstract : The largest moon of Saturn, Titan, is known for its dense, nitrogen-rich atmosphere. The organic aerosols which are produced in Titan’s atmosphere are of great astrobiological interest, particularly because of their potential evolution when they reach the surface and may interact with putative ammonia-water cryomagma [1]. In this context we have followed the evolution of alkaline pH hydrolysis (25wt% ammonia-water) of Titan aerosol analogues, that have been qualified as representative of Titan’s aerosols [2]. Indeed the first results obtained by the ACP experiment onboard Huygens probe revealed that the main products obtained after thermolysis of Titan’s collected aerosols, were ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Then performing a direct comparison of the volatiles produced after a thermal treatment done in conditions similar to the ones used by the ACP experiment, we may estimate that the tholins we used are relevant to chemical analogues of Titan’s aerosols, and to note free of oxygen. Taking into account recent studies proposing that the subsurface ocean may contain a lower fraction of ammonia (about 5wt% or less [3]), and assuming the presence of specific gas species [4, 5], in particular CO2 and H2S, trapped in likely internal ocean, we determine a new probable composition of the cryomagma which could potentially interact with deposited Titan’s aerosols. We then carried out different hydrolyses, taking into account this composition, and we established the influence of the hydrolysis temperature on the organic molecules production. References: [1] Mitri et al., 2008. Resurfacing of Titan by ammonia-water cryomagma. Icarus. 196, 216-224. [2] Coll et al. 2013, Can laboratory tholins mimic the chemistry producing Titan's aerosols? A review in light of ACP experimental results, Planetary and Space Science 77, 91-103. [3] Tobie et al. 2012. Titan’s Bulk Composition Constrained by Cassini-Huygens: implication for internal outgassing. The Astrophysical Journal. 752, 125. [4] Hersant et al., 2004. Enrichment in volatiles in the giant planets of the Solar System. Planetary and Space Science. 52, 623-641. [5] Hersant et al., 2008. Interpretation of the carbon abundance in Saturn measured by Cassini. Planetary and Space Science. 56, 1103-1111.
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Patrice Coll, Rafael Navarro-Gonzalez, François Raulin, David Coscia, Sandra I. Ramirez, et al.. Putative cryomagma interaction with aerosols deposit at Titan's surface. 40th COSPAR Scientific Assembly, Aug 2014, Moscow, Russia. pp.Abstract F3.4-5-14. ⟨insu-01148802⟩

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