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The AMINO experiment: methane photolysis under Solar VUV irradiation on the EXPOSE-R facility of the International Space Station

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2014

Nathalie Carrasco
Affiliation:
Université Versailles St-Quentin, UPMC University Paris 06, CNRS, LATMOS, 11 blvd d'Alembert, 78280 Guyancourt, France Institut Universitaire de France, 103 blv St-Michel, 75005 Paris, France
Hervé Cottin
Affiliation:
Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris Est Créteil and Université Paris Diderot, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, 61 Avenue du Général De Gaulle, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France
Mégane Cloix
Affiliation:
Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris Est Créteil and Université Paris Diderot, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, 61 Avenue du Général De Gaulle, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France
Murielle Jérome
Affiliation:
Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris Est Créteil and Université Paris Diderot, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, 61 Avenue du Général De Gaulle, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France
Yves Bénilan
Affiliation:
Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris Est Créteil and Université Paris Diderot, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, 61 Avenue du Général De Gaulle, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France
Patrice Coll
Affiliation:
Institut Universitaire de France, 103 blv St-Michel, 75005 Paris, France Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris Est Créteil and Université Paris Diderot, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, 61 Avenue du Général De Gaulle, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France
Marie-Claire Gazeau
Affiliation:
Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris Est Créteil and Université Paris Diderot, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, 61 Avenue du Général De Gaulle, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France
François Raulin
Affiliation:
Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris Est Créteil and Université Paris Diderot, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, 61 Avenue du Général De Gaulle, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France
Kafila Saiagh
Affiliation:
Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques, LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris Est Créteil and Université Paris Diderot, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, 61 Avenue du Général De Gaulle, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France
Didier Chaput
Affiliation:
Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, Toulouse, France
Cyril Szopa
Affiliation:
Université Versailles St-Quentin, UPMC University Paris 06, CNRS, LATMOS, 11 blvd d'Alembert, 78280 Guyancourt, France
Corresponding

Abstract

The scientific aim of the present campaign is to study the whole chain of methane photo-degradation, as initiated by Solar vacuum-ultraviolet irradiation in Titan's atmosphere. For this purpose, the AMINO experiment on the EXPOSE-R mission has loaded closed cells for gas-phase photochemistry in space conditions. Two different gas mixtures have been exposed, named Titan 1 and Titan 2, involving both N2–CH4 gas mixtures, without and with CO2, respectively. CO2 is added as a source of reactive oxygen in the cells. The cell contents were analysed thanks to infrared absorption spectroscopy, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Methane consumption leads to the formation of saturated hydrocarbons, with no detectable influence of CO2. This successful campaign provides a first benchmark for characterizing the whole methane photochemical system in space conditions. A thin film of tholin-like compounds appears to form on the cell walls of the exposed cells.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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