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Journal Articles Planetary and Space Science Year : 2014

The exploration of Titan with an orbiter and a lake probe

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Roberto Orosei

Abstract

Fundamental questions involving the origin, evolution, and history of both Titan and the broader Saturnian system can be answered by exploring this satellite from an orbiter and also in situ. We present the science case for an exploration of Titan and one of its lakes from a dedicated orbiter and a lake probe. Observations from an orbit-platform can improve our understanding of Titan׳s geological processes, surface composition and atmospheric properties. Further, combined measurements of the gravity field, rotational dynamics and electromagnetic field can expand our understanding of the interior and evolution of Titan. An in situ exploration of Titan׳s lakes provides an unprecedented opportunity to understand the hydrocarbon cycle, investigate a natural laboratory for prebiotic chemistry and habitability potential, and study meteorological and marine processes in an exotic environment. We briefly discuss possible mission scenarios for a future exploration of Titan with an orbiter and a lake probe. •We present the science case for Titan׳s exploration.•We present mission scenarios for a future exploration of Titan.•This paper is based on a white paper presented for 2013 ESA׳s Call for Large missions.

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Dates and versions

insu-01281964 , version 1 (03-03-2016)

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Giuseppe Mitri, Athena Coustenis, Gilbert Fanchini, Alex G. Hayes, Luciano Iess, et al.. The exploration of Titan with an orbiter and a lake probe. Planetary and Space Science, 2014, 104, ⟨10.1016/j.pss.2014.07.009⟩. ⟨insu-01281964⟩
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