Scientists have found that lakes of Saturn’s moon resemble soda
The largest moon of Saturn, Titan, is one of the strangest bodies in the Solar system.
Using laboratory experiments and data from the automatic spacecraft Cassini, a group of scientists from NASA’s jet propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California recreated the conditions on Titan’s surface, and found that its lake and the sea can be a kind of cosmic “soda”.
All liquids absorb gases based on pressure and temperature. For example, water absorbs different gases such as carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen, but it all depends on various factors. Without going into the math, you can say that water at high pressure and low temperature absorbs more carbon dioxide and less at low pressure and high temperature.
According to the JPL team, conditions on Titan are very similar to soda, only in this case, the water is a mixture of cryogenic fluids, and the gas is nitrogen. On Titan, the surface temperature is -179.5 degrees Celsius, and the atmosphere is 95% nitrogen and 4.9% of methane at a pressure of 146.7 kPa or 1.45 psi. Lakes and sea are a mixture of hydrocarbons dominated by methane and ethane, falls as rain.
In a sense, Titan is a cold and exotic version of Earth, but of course with its own characteristics. During its many flybys, the spacecraft Cassini found that the lake cryogenic liquid varied in composition, change their properties, including the ability to absorb and retain nitrogen. The researchers compared the solubility of nitrogen in the seas and lakes of Titan from observations and calculations by creating artificial lakes, simulating conditions on the satellite. Taking various mixtures of ethane and methane, and then subjecting them to low temperatures and pressures, the researchers could observe how the mixture behaves and how well it absorbs nitrogen.
They found that the lake could absorb more nitrogen at higher methane concentrations, low temperatures and high pressure. But the interesting thing is that unlike Earth, the situation in these lakes is not stable. A slight increase in temperature or a dramatic shift in the ratios of methane and ethane, for example, due to heavy rain causes a sudden release of nitrogen in the form of small bubbles.
Quite possibly, in the future, from Earth to Titan will fly tourists to watch the unbelievably exciting process of separation of nitrogen from cryogenic liquids.
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