Titan alkane rainfall cycle or a prelude to the birth of life

France and the United States space agency scientists found that the presence of methane on Titan circulatory system, underground Titan’s “aquifer” can form alkanes rainfall, similar to the early Earth environment.


Titan lake surface has alkanes, scientists believe that early Earth had a similar environment

According to foreign media reports, the scientists found that the presence of methane on Titan circulatory system, found in underground “aquifer” can be transformed in some way for methane rain, which scientists simulate Titan formation of methane rain on the sixth, and found storage biogas underground “aquifer” components may change over time, the formation of inclusion complexes, which is the main cause of methane on Titan appear rainfall. Cassini mission jointly performed by NASA and the European Space Agency, the spacecraft has discovered hundreds of lakes and oceans at the distribution on Titan, the main focus of Titan’s Arctic region, but these lakes and not liquid water, but hydrocarbons, including a lot of methane.

Organic compounds exist on other celestial bodies, is not a rare phenomenon, scientists believe the Earth at a very early stage there is a similar environment, by further observations, the scientists found that Titan is very similar to the early Earth, but also a world full of methane. Located Titan Arctic lakes of liquid hydrocarbons can be added methane rain, so Titan’s atmosphere formed a strange hydrocarbons circulatory system, like the ocean and land on Earth as rain, but scientists Titan crust and the atmospheric hydrocarbon migration process is still relatively unknown.

Research Associate Olivier Mousis Cassini probe is chief scientist of this study, his research interests include the formation of alkanes to find material on Titan rainfall and understand material exchange Titan’s underground aquifers and the atmosphere , the research team found that this process can form inclusion complexes, in the form of surface runoff to supplement the aquifer, this process leads to a number of liquid propane and ethane flow into lakes and rivers, forming lakes of liquid hydrocarbons.

Scientists believe liquid alkane lakes beneath its crust enclave surface of Titan is closely linked, but on which the material exchange process is not very familiar with scientists from Cornell University and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are exploring the full underground aquifers how liquid hydrocarbon diffusion through the porous topography on Titan to other structures, they found in the earth’s crust slowly aquifer storage of methane-forming region, and continue to form inclusion complexes, the surface pressure and temperature makes the inclusion complexes become an important medium for storage of liquid on Titan’s hydrocarbon substances can be kept stable at Titan’s surface. Eventually filled aquifer methane or ethane propane will be transformed into the aquifer.

The study allowed the researchers to understand the lakes of Titan’s surface composition, and changes that occur deep in the earth’s crust, the survey published in the journal Icarus September 1, 2014, and the study was funded by the French National Centre for Space Studies and NASA jointly complete. Cassini is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency, Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for the daily management and is currently up and running.

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