The Influence of CO2 Admixtures on Process in Titan's Atmospheric Chemistry


  • L. Torokova Faculty of Chemistry, Brno University of Technology, Purkynova 118, 612 00 Brno
  • V. Mazankova Faculty of Chemistry, Brno University of Technology, Purkynova 118, 612 00 Brno
  • N. J. Mason Department of Physical Sciences, Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA
  • F. Krcma Faculty of Chemistry, Brno University of Technology, Purkynova 118, 612 00 Brno
  • G. Morgan Department of Physical Sciences, Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA
  • S. Matejcik Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics, Comenius University, 842 48 Bratislava



atmosphere of Titan, glow discharge, GC-MS analysis, FTIR spectroscopy


The exploration of planetary atmosphere is being advanced by the exciting results of the Cassin-Huygens mission to Titan. The complex chemistry revealed in such atmospheres leading to the synthesis of bigger molecules is providing new insights into our understanding of how life on Earth developed. In our experiments Titan's atmosphere is simulated in a glow discharge formed from a mixture of N2:CH4:CO2 gas. Samples of the discharge gas were analysed by GC-MS and FTIR. The major products identified in spectra were: hydrogen cyanide, acetylene and acetonitrile. The same compounds were detected in the FTIR: hydrogen cyanide, acetylene and ammonia. Whilst many of these compounds have been predicted and/or observed in the Titan atmosphere, the present plasma experiments provide evidence of both the chemical complexity of Titan atmospheric processes and the mechanisms by which larger species grow prior to form the dust that should cover much of the Titan's surface.


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