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Conference papers

Poster 14: Explorer of Enceladus and Titan (E2T)

Abstract : The NASA-ESA Cassini-Huygens mission has revealed Titan and Enceladus to be two of the most enigmatic worlds in the Solar System. Titan, with its organically rich and dynamic atmosphere and geology, and Enceladus, with its active plume, both harboring subsurface oceans, are prime environments in which to investigate the conditions for the emergence of life and the habitability of Ocean Worlds. Explorer of Enceladus and Titan (E2T) is dedicated to investigating the evolution and habitability of these Saturnian satellites and will be proposed as a medium-class mission led by ESA in collaboration with NASA in response to ESA's M5 Call. E2T has a focused payload that will provide in-situ sampling and high-resolution imaging during multiple flybys of Enceladus and Titan using a solar-electric powered spacecraft in orbit around Saturn. The E2T mission will provide high-resolution mass spectroscopy of the plume emanating from Enceladus' south polar terrain (SPT) and of Titan's upper atmosphere as well as high-resolution IR imaging of the plume and the source fractures on Enceladus' SPT, and it will detail Titan's geomorphology at 50-100 m resolution. The E2T mission has three scientific goals: 1) Investigate the origin and evolution of volatile-rich icy worlds by examining both Enceladus and Titan, 2) Investigate the habitability and potential for life in ocean worlds on both Enceladus and Titan and 3) Investigate Titan as an Earth-like world with an evolving climate and landscape. These investigations will be accomplished by measuring the nature, abundance and isotopic properties of solid- and vapor-phase species in Enceladus' plume and Titan's upper atmosphere. E2T's high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometers will enable us to untangle the ambiguities left by Cassini regarding the identification of low-mass organic species, identify high-mass organic species for the first time, further constrain trace species such as the noble gases, and clarify the evolution of solid and volatile species. High-resolution IR imaging will reveal Titan's surface and Enceladus's fractured SPT and plume in detail unattainable by the Cassini mission, allowing us to investigate the processes that are transporting and transforming organic materials on the surface of Titan, and constrain the mechanisms controlling, and the energy dissipated by, Enceladus' plume. The proposed mission will address key scientific questions regarding extraterrestrial habitability, abiotic/prebiotic chemistry and emergence of life, which are among the highest priorities of ESA's Cosmic Vision program.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 14, 2022 - 5:13:51 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 10, 2022 - 3:24:58 PM

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Giuseppe Mitri, Gabriel Tobie, Frank Postberg, Jason M. Soderblom, Peter Wurz, et al.. Poster 14: Explorer of Enceladus and Titan (E2T). Titan Aeronomy and Climate. Proceedings of the Workshop held 27-29 June, Jun 2016, Reims, France. ⟨insu-03573505⟩

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