Primordial N2 provides a cosmochemical explanation for the existence of Sputnik Planitia, Pluto

@article{Glein2018PrimordialNP,
  title={Primordial N2 provides a cosmochemical explanation for the existence of Sputnik Planitia, Pluto},
  author={Christopher R. Glein and Jack Hunter Waite},
  journal={Icarus},
  year={2018}
}
Abstract The presence of N2 in the surface environment of Pluto is critical in creating Pluto's richness of features and processes. Here, we propose that the nitrogen atoms in the N2 observed on Pluto were accreted in that chemical form during the formation of Pluto. We use New Horizons data and models to estimate the amounts of N2 in the following exterior reservoirs: atmosphere, escape, photochemistry, and surface. The total exterior inventory is deduced to be dominated by a glacial sheet of… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

New Constraints on Pluto’s Sputnik Planitia Ice Sheet from a Coupled Reorientation–Climate Model
We present a coupled reorientation and climate model, to understand how true polar wander (TPW) and atmospheric condensation worked together to create the Sputnik Planitia (SP) ice sheet and reorient
Pluto’s Volatile and Climate Cycles on Short and Long Timescales
The volatiles on Pluto’s surface, N2, CH4, and CO, are present in its atmosphere as well. The movement of volatiles affects Pluto’s surface and atmosphere on multiple timescales. On diurnal
Pluto’s ocean is capped and insulated by gas hydrates
Many icy Solar System bodies possess subsurface oceans. On Pluto, Sputnik Planitia’s location near the equator suggests the presence of a subsurface ocean and a locally thinned ice shell. To maintain
Jupiter formed as a pebble pile around the N2 ice line
Context. The region around the H2O ice line, due to its higher surface density, seems to be the ideal location to form planets. The core of Jupiter, as well as the cores of close-in gas giants are
Nitrogen Atmospheres of the Icy Bodies in the Solar System
This brief review will discuss the current knowledge on the origin and evolution of the nitrogen atmospheres of the icy bodies in the solar system, particularly of Titan, Triton and Pluto. An
Geodynamics of Pluto
In this article we summarize our understanding of Pluto’s internal structure and evolution following the New Horizons mission. Pluto’s density implies it is roughly 70% rock and 30% ice by mass,
Formation Conditions of Titan’s and Enceladus’s Building Blocks in Saturn’s Circumplanetary Disk
The building blocks of Titan and Enceladus are believed to have formed in a late-stage circumplanetary disk (CPD) around Saturn. Evaluating the evolution of the abundances of volatile species in this
Formation, Composition, and History of the Pluto System: A Post-New Horizons Synthesis
The Pluto-Charon system provides a broad variety of constraints on planetary formation, composition, chemistry, and evolution. Pluto was the first body to be discovered in what is now known as the
Volatile evolution and atmospheres of Trans-Neptunian objects
At 30-50 K, the temperatures typical for surfaces in the Kuiper Belt (e.g. Stern & Trafton 2008), only seven species have sublimation pressures higher than 1 nbar (Fray & Schmitt 2009): Ne, N$_2$,
On the origin & thermal stability of Arrokoth's and Pluto's ices
Abstract In this paper we discuss in a thermodynamic, geologically empirical way the long-term nature of the stable majority ices that could be present in Kuiper Belt object (KBO) 2014 MU69 (aka
...
1
2
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 145 REFERENCES
On the Provenance of Pluto's Nitrogen (N2)
N2 is abundant in Pluto’s atmosphere and on its surface, but the supply is depleted by prodigious atmospheric escape. We demonstrate that cometary impacts could not have delivered enough N mass to
Evolution of Titan’s atmosphere during the Late Heavy Bombardment
Abstract The mass and composition of Titan’s massive atmosphere, which is dominated by N2 and CH4 at present, have probably varied all along its history owing to a combination of exogenous and
High-temperature shock formation of N2 and organics on primordial Titan
TLDR
To simulate the effects of an impact in Titan's atmosphere, the focused beam of a high-power laser is used, a method that has been shown to simulate shock phenomena, and results in a total N2 production comparable to that present in Titan’s atmosphere and putative ocean.
Observed glacier and volatile distribution on Pluto from atmosphere–topography processes
TLDR
The model predicts N2 ice accumulation in the deepest low-latitude basin and the threefold increase in atmospheric pressure that has been observed to occur since 1988, and points to atmospheric–topographic processes as the origin of Sputnik Planitia’s N2 glacier.
On the possible noble gas deficiency of Pluto’s atmosphere
Abstract We use a statistical–thermodynamic model to investigate the formation and composition of noble-gas-rich clathrates on Pluto’s surface. By considering an atmospheric composition close to that
Reorientation of Sputnik Planitia implies a subsurface ocean on Pluto
TLDR
It is argued that if Sputnik Planitia did indeed form as a result of an impact and if Pluto possesses a subsurface ocean, the required positive gravity anomaly would naturally result because of shell thinning and ocean uplift, followed by later modest nitrogen deposition.
The rapid formation of Sputnik Planitia early in Pluto’s history
TLDR
Modelling suggests that Sputnik Planitia formed shortly after Charon did and has been stable, albeit gradually losing volume, over the age of the Solar System.
Isotopic constraints on the source of Pluto’s nitrogen and the history of atmospheric escape
TLDR
After evaluating the potential impact of escape and photochemistry on Pluto’s nitrogen isotope ratio (14N/15N), it is found that if Pluto�'s nitrogen originated as N2 the current ratio in Pluto's atmosphere would be greater than 324 while it would be less than 157 if the source of Pluto's nitrogen were NH3.
Geological mapping of Sputnik Planitia on Pluto
Abstract The geology and stratigraphy of the feature on Pluto informally named Sputnik Planitia is documented through geologic mapping at 1:2,000,000 scale. All units that have been mapped are
Pluto’s implications for a Snowball Titan
The current Cassini–Huygens Mission to the Saturn system provides compelling evidence that the present state of Titan’s dense atmosphere is unsustainable over the age of the Solar System. Instead,
...
1
2
3
4
5
...