Electric properties and related physical characteristics of the atmosphere and surface of Titan. - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Planetary and Space Science Year : 2006

Electric properties and related physical characteristics of the atmosphere and surface of Titan.

Abstract

The permittivity, waves and altimetry (PWA) instrument was designed for the investigation of the electric properties and other related physical characteristics of the atmosphere of Titan, from an altitude around 140 km down to the surface. PWA carried sensors to measure the atmospheric conductivity, and record electromagnetic and acoustic waves up to frequencies of 11.5 and 6.7 kHz, respectively. PWA also measured the relief roughness during the descent and the permittivity of the surface after touchdown. The measurements and the results of the preliminary analysis are presented. An ionized layer is detected at altitudes above 50 km, using two independent techniques, and the presence of free electrons in the upper atmosphere is confirmed. An electric signal at around 36 Hz is observed throughout the descent, but it is not yet confirmed that this emission is unambiguously related to a resonance of the ionospheric cavity. The relative dielectric constant of Titan's surface material is nearly 2 and the electric conductivity 4×10−10 S m−1. The electric properties of the surface seem to evolve after touch-down, possibly due to a local warming of the landing site by the Huygens Probe body.

Dates and versions

hal-00157800 , version 1 (27-06-2007)

Identifiers

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R. Grard, Michel Hamelin, J. J. López-Moreno, K. Schwingenschuh, I. Jernej, et al.. Electric properties and related physical characteristics of the atmosphere and surface of Titan.. Planetary and Space Science, 2006, 54 (12), pp.1124-1136. ⟨10.1016/j.pss.2006.05.036⟩. ⟨hal-00157800⟩
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