François Raulin

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Saturn's largest moon, Titan, remains an enigma, explored only by remote sensing from Earth, and by the Voyager and Cassini spacecraft. The most puzzling aspects include the origin of the molecular nitrogen and methane in its atmosphere, and the mechanism(s) by which methane is maintained in the face of rapid destruction by photolysis. The Huygens probe,(More)
We have developed a new photochemical model of Titan's atmosphere which includes all the important compounds and reactions in spherical geometry from the surface to 1240 km. Compared to the previous model of Yung et al. (1984, Astrophys. J. Suppl. 55, 465-506), the most significant recent change in the reactions used is the updated methane(More)
[1] The Cassini‐Huygens probe gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GCMS) determined the composition of the Titan atmosphere from ∼140 km altitude to the surface. After landing, it returned composition data of gases evaporated from the surface. Height profiles of molecular nitrogen (N2), methane (CH4), and molecular hydrogen (H2) were determined. Traces were(More)
The detection and identification of organic molecules on Mars are of primary importance to establish the existence of a possible ancient prebiotic chemistry or even biological activity. The harsh environmental conditions at the surface of Mars could explain why the Viking probes-the only efforts, to date, to search for organics on Mars-detected no organic(More)
Numerous experiments have already been performed, simulating the evolution of gaseous mixtures containing CH4 when submitted to energy flux. From their results, it appears that a variety of organic compounds, including unsaturated hydrocarbons and nitriles such as HCN, can be synthesized into noticeable amounts from CH4−N2 mixtures. In particular,(More)
Temperatures obtained from early Cassini infrared observations of Titan show a stratopause at an altitude of 310 kilometers (and 186 kelvin at 15 degrees S). Stratospheric temperatures are coldest in the winter northern hemisphere, with zonal winds reaching 160 meters per second. The concentrations of several stratospheric organic compounds are enhanced at(More)
The failure of Viking Lander thermal volatilization (TV) (without or with thermal degradation)-gas chromatography (GC)-MS experiments to detect organics suggests chemical rather than biological interpretations for the reactivity of the martian soil. Here, we report that TV-GC-MS may be blind to low levels of organics on Mars. A comparison between TV-GC-MS(More)
We present measurements for the production of nitrogen oxides (NO and N2O) in CO2-N2 mixtures that simulate different stages of the evolution of the atmospheres of the Earth, Venus and Mars. The nitrogen fixation rates by two different types of electrical discharges, namely lightning and coronae, were studied over a wide range in CO2 and N2 mixing ratios.(More)
The purpose of this paper is to compare the role of UV light and of electric discharges, the two most important sources of energy on the primitive earth, in the synthesis of organic compounds out of a reducing model of that atmosphere. Since Miller's experiments in 1953, most of the experimental simulations have been performed with electric discharges, and(More)
We report on new observations of Titan with the International Ultraviolet Explorer in the mid-UV range (lambda approximately 220-335 nm). We use these data to determine upper limits for the abundances of simple organic compounds in the gas phase and to further constrain the properties of the high altitude haze on Titan. As a baseline, we adopted the(More)