2013 Annual Science Report
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Titan Reporting | SEP 2012 – AUG 2013
Task 1.1.1: Leaching of Radiogenic Potassium From Titan’s Core Into Its Ocean
Working with graduate student Jason Hofgartner and NAI collaborator Christophe Sotin, we modeled the equilibrium chemistry of potassium at high pressure in the interior aqueous media in Saturn’s moon Titan to determine the extent of potassium leaching. This, in turn, allows us to test the hydrated silicate core model proposed by J. Castillo-Rogez and NAI Titan deputy PI Jonathan Lunine.
The basic calculations using SUPRCRIT were completed by Jason Hofgartner and demonstrated that that significant amounts of radioactive potassium-40 can be leached out of a hydrated silicate core into the overlying ocean. This in turn increases the longevity of the hydrated silicate core against dehydration, a longevity suggested by Titan’s moment of inertia
PROJECT MEMBERS:Jonathan Lunine
RELATED OBJECTIVES:Objective 1.1
Formation and evolution of habitable planets.
Outer Solar System exploration
Origins and evolution of functional biomolecules
Biosignatures to be sought in Solar System materials