Experimental Studies to Determine the Impact of Propane, Ethylene, and Acetylene In and Around Titan's Lakes
The FINESST Fellowship is providing me the opportunity to further explore the proposed project 'Experimental Studies to Determine the Impact of Propane, Acetylene, and Ethylene In and Around Titan's Lakes' for the next two years. The goal is to add varying quantities of propane, ethylene, and acetylene to methane-ethane-nitrogen mixtures and record how the minority species impact the phases and phase transitions of the ternary system using Raman spectroscopy.
These experiments will ideally provide insight into the processes occurring on the surface and at shorelines of the lakes and seas.
Work was completed on the methane-ethane binary phase diagram and an accompanying paper was published in The Planetary Science Journal [DOI]. In this research, I used Raman spectroscopy to probe the phase changes of the methane-ethane system at temperatures ranging between 70 and 95 K and at pressures <1.5 bar. During this time, I also looked more closely at the solid phase transitions of ethane. There are three solid phases that occur between 89 and 90 K, making this interesting both in the extremely narrow range these transitions happen and its consequences for Titan.
Tuning DraGNS' Interpretations to Titan's Expected
As a Dragonfly Student and Early Career Investigator, I am working with Drs. Patrick Peplowski (Applied Physics Lab) and Ann Parsons (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) to refine the DraGNS (Dragonfly Gamma-ray and Neutron Spectrometer) instrument so it is Titan ready. To this point, gamma-ray and neutron spectroscopy have only been used to study terrestrial planets, which tend to be richer in iron and lower in hydrogen. Being past the frost line, Titan has the opposite elemental abundance. Our goal is to experimentally calibrate DraGNS so we may have a deeper understanding of the data that Dragonfly with eventually be sent back to Earth.
Photo credit: NASA