Home

About

Advanced Search

Browse by Discipline

Scientific Societies

E-print Alerts

Add E-prints

E-print Network
FAQHELPSITE MAPCONTACT US


  Advanced Search  

 
2008 Nature Publishing Group REVIEW ARTICLE
 

Summary:  2008 Nature Publishing Group
REVIEW ARTICLE
The methane cycle on Titan
Saturn's moon Titan is the second largest natural satellite in the solar system, and the only one that
possesses a substantial atmosphere. With a surface temperature of 93.7 K at the equator, Titan's
water is almost completely frozen out of the atmosphere; water ice comprises between 35% and
45% of the mass of Titan depending on the interior model. But methane seems to play many of the
roles on Titan that water does on Earth: clouds have been observed, fluvial and dendritic features
have been imaged suggesting episodic heavy rainfall, and there is compelling but circumstantial
evidence for near-polar lakes or seas of methane and its atmospheric photochemical product, ethane.
However, whereas Earth possesses a massive global ocean of water, Titan lacks a global methane
ocean, and on Titan, low-latitude rainfall appears to be an occasional process limited by the small
amount of available solar energy compared with that of Earth. Titan is therefore distinct from the Earth,
but is also different from Venus in retaining an active cycle of precipitation and evaporation, and from
Mars in the preponderance of active fluvial and pluvial processes in the present day.
JONATHAN I. LUNINE1,2
* AND SUSHIL K. ATREYA
1
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
85721 USA; 2

  

Source: Atreya, Sushil - Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Science, University of Michigan

 

Collections: Physics