Technical Development
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Future Missions to Titan: Scientific and Engineering Challenges

Period of Performance: October 2011 - October 2013
2014 Technical Development Update: (1.78 MB pdf)

Caltech PI: Julia R. Greer

Caltech Co-PIs:

  • Kaushik Bhattacharya
  • Jack Beauchamp
  • Jennifer M. Jackson

External Collaborators:

  • Jonathan I. Lunine (Cornell)
  • George Cody (Carnegie Institution)

JPL PI: Patricia M. Beauchamp


To develop a low mass, low power instrument concept and advance sub-system technologies to produce a high resolution, high sensitivity instrument that has the dynamic range and sensitivity to both provide the required information on the major species and simultaneously find the interesting complex species within the light hydrocarbon soup found in Titan lakes.


  • Perform system level trades and developing the instrument concept
  • Identify specific sub-system technological challenges
  • Develop specific breakthrough technologies to overcome specific technical challenges and enable the measurements to be successfully made in the Titan lake environment
  • Increase the instrument concept TRL level from 2 to 3.


  • Cryogenically-operated NMR will be able to detect and quantify the abundance of ethane, methane, propane butane and butene
  • Mass Spectrometer: 1000 Daltons range and 100,000 mass resolution for major and minor species
  • Reduce mass, power and volume of current flight instruments by ~75% (MS, sample acquisition and handling only. No NMR has flown and no instruments operating at ambient Titan temperature have ever flown)

For questions contact: Michele Judd

Julia Greer

Julia R. Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, leads the KISS supported Caltech and external efforts of this work.

Pat Beauchamp

Pat Beauchamp leads the JPL-supported efforts of this work.