Titan's internal structure inferred from a coupled thermal-orbital model

Research areas:
Year:
2005
Authors:
Journal:
ICARUS
Volume:
175
Number:
2
Pages:
496-502
Month:
June
ISSN:
0019-1035
Abstract:
Through coupled thermal and orbital calculations including a full
description of tidal dissipation. heat transfer and the H2O-NH3 phase
diagram, we propose a model for the internal Structure and composition
of Titan testable with Cassini-Huygens measurements. The high value of
Titan's orbital eccentricity provides a strong constraint on the amount
of the tidal energy dissipation on its surface and within its interior
since its formation. We show that only models with a few percent of
ammonia (and not zero) in the primordial liquid water shell can limit
the damping of the eccentricity over the age of the Solar System. The
present models predict that a liquid ammonia-rich water layer should
still be present within Titan under an ice 1 layer, a few tens of
kilometers thick. Furthermore, we predict that any event linked to
convective processes in the ice Ih layer (like the degassing of methane)
Could have occurred very late in Titan's history. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc.
All rights reserved.