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The identification of liquid ethane in Titan's Ontario Lacus

Nature

By:
, , , , , , , , ,
DOI: 10.1038/nature07100

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Abstract

Titan was once thought to have global oceans of light hydrocarbons on its surface, but after 40 close flybys of Titan by the Cassini spacecraft, it has become clear that no such oceans exist. There are, however, features similar to terrestrial lakes and seas, and widespread evidence for fluvial erosion, presumably driven by precipitation of liquid methane from Titan's dense, nitrogen-dominated atmosphere. Here we report infrared spectroscopic data, obtained by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) on board the Cassini spacecraft, that strongly indicate that ethane, probably in liquid solution with methane, nitrogen and other low-molecular-mass hydrocarbons, is contained within Titan's Ontario Lacus. ??2008 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The identification of liquid ethane in Titan's Ontario Lacus
Series title:
Nature
DOI:
10.1038/nature07100
Volume
454
Issue:
7204
Year Published:
2008
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
607
Last page:
610