Formation and Evolution of Titan’s Atmosphere

  title={Formation and Evolution of Titan’s Atmosphere},
  author={A. Coustenis},
  journal={Space Science Reviews},
The origin and evolution of Titan’s enigmatic atmosphere is reviewed. Starting with the present-day volatile inventory, the question of what was the original composition on Titan and how a satellite of similar size to other Galilean moons managed to acquire and hold on to the required material is discussed. In particular the possible sources and sinks of the main mother molecules (nitrogen, methane and oxygen) are investigated in view of the most recent models and laboratory experiments. The… Expand
Noble gases, nitrogen, and methane from the deep interior to the atmosphere of Titan
Abstract Titan’s thick N2–CH4 atmosphere is unlike any in the Solar System, and its origin has been shrouded in mystery for over half a century. Here, I perform a detailed analysis of chemical andExpand
Evolution of Titan׳s major atmospheric gases and cooling since accretion
Abstract This paper discusses two possible pathways of loss of the two main gases from Titan׳s post-accretional atmosphere, methane (CH 4 ) and ammonia (NH 3 ), by the mechanisms of thermal escapeExpand
Astrobiology of Titan
Mars, Europa, and Titan—these solar system bodies have a great exobiological significance. Here, we will focus on Titan, the largest satellite of Saturn, which has a dense atmosphere composedExpand
The absence of endogenic methane on Titan and its implications for the origin of atmospheric nitrogen
Abstract We calculate the D/H ratio of CH 4 from serpentinization on Titan to determine whether Titan’s atmospheric CH 4 was originally produced inside the giant satellite. This is done by performingExpand
Photochemistry in Outer Solar System Atmospheres
The photochemistries of the H2-He atmospheres of the gas giants Jupiter, Saturn and ice giants Uranus and Neptune and Titan’s mildly reducing N2 atmosphere are reviewed in terms of general chemicalExpand
Saturn: Composition and Chemistry
The chapter reviews our current knowledge of the molecular, elemental, and isotopic composition and atmospheric chemistry in Saturn 's shallow atmosphere, i.e., between the cloud levels and theExpand
Photochemistry of Terrestrial Exoplanet Atmospheres
Terrestrial exoplanets are exciting objects to study because they could be potential habitats for extraterrestrial life. Both the search and the characterization of terrestrial exoplanets areExpand
Remote Sensing of Hydrocarbons on Titan
Hydrocarbon reservoirs at Titan come in many forms—as gases and condensates in the atmosphere; as surface accumulations of liquid in lakes, slushy soils, and solid sediments; and in the subsurface,Expand
Solar System Magnetospheres
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Atmospheric Photochemistry, Surface Features, and Potential Biosignature Gases of Terrestrial Exoplanets
The endeavor to characterize terrestrial exoplanets warrants the study of chemistry in their atmospheres. Here I present a comprehensive one-dimensional photochemistrythermochemistry model developedExpand


On the origin of Titan's atmosphere.
  • T. Owen
  • Chemistry, Medicine
  • Planetary and space science
  • 2000
Titan's atmospheric methane appears to have been formed from carbon and other carbon compounds, either by gas phase reactions in the subnebula or by accretional heating during the formation of Titan. Expand
The composition and origin of Titan's atmosphere
Abstract The discovery that Titan had an atmosphere was made by the identification of methane in the satellite's spectrum in 1944. But the abundance of this gas and the identification of other majorExpand
Photochemically Driven Collapse of Titan's Atmosphere
Radiative-convective and radiative-saturated equilibrium models of Titan's atmosphere show that methane depletion may have allowed Titan’s atmosphere to cool so that nitrogen, its main constituent, condenses onto the surface, collapsing Titan into a Triton-like frozen state with a thin atmosphere. Expand
D to H ratio and the origin and evolution of Titan's atmosphere
Titan's atmosphere is enriched in deuterium by a factor of ≥3 relative to Jupiter and Saturn, and the greater part of the observed fractionation is probably derived from the formation of Titan and the subsequent evolution of Titan's atmosphere driven by photochemistry. Expand
An Evolutionary Turbulent Model of Saturn's Subnebula: Implications for the Origin of the Atmosphere of Titan
We have elaborated an evolutionary turbulent model of the subnebula of Saturn derived from that of Dubrulle (1993, Icarus 106, 59‐76) for the solar nebula, which is valid for a geometrically thinExpand
The D/H Ratio in Methane in Titan: Origin and History
Abstract We propose a new interpretation of the D/H ratio in CH4 observed in the atmosphere of Titan. Using a turbulent evolutionary model of the subnebula of Saturn (O. Mousis et al. 2002,Expand
Comets, impacts, and atmospheres.
A mixture of three basic types of comets appears capable of accounting for the observed volatile inventories on Venus, Earth, and Mars, with the caveat that impact erosion is necessary to explain the present condition of the martian atmosphere. Expand
Evolution of CO on Titan
The early evolution of Titan's atmosphere is expected to produce enrichment in the heavy isotopomers of CO, ^(13)CO and C^(18)O, relative to ^(12)C^(16)O. However, the original isotopic signaturesExpand
Formation and Composition of Planetesimals
The composition of planetesimals depends upon the epoch and the location of their formation in the solar nebula. Meteorites produced in the hot inner nebula contain refractory compounds. VolatilesExpand
Monodeuterated methane in the outer solar system. III. Its abundance of Titan
The 3nv2 band of CH3D has been detected in spectra of Titan recorded at 1.6 microns with the Fourier transform spectrometer at the 4 m telescope of the Kitt Peak National Observatory. A value of theExpand