Future Missions to Titan: Scientific and Engineering Challenges

May 25-28, 2010
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Final Report

Workshop Overview:

Titan (with extremely low surface temperatures ranging from 90 to 94 K) represents a tremendous challenge for mission design and implementation, particularly when the scientific goals involve an analysis of the chemical processes taking place. Detailed chemical analysis requires the acquisition and handling of samples without chemically or physically perturbing them in the process. Current state-of-the-art sample acquisition systems demonstrated on the Martian surface (with surface temperatures warmer than 143 K and pressures of 0.01 bar) require elaborate environmental control systems and have only been utilized on solid samples taken at extremely shallow depths. The re-design of sample handling systems for deep exploration of the colder, denser, and more thermally conductive Titan environment becomes prohibitively expensive due to the extreme penalties incurred in terms of system mass and power. Furthermore, the process of acquiring a complex sample from Titan's wide-ranging environments (lakes, dunes, possible cryo-volcanoes, and atmosphere) and transferring it to the warmer spacecraft interior inherently induces physical and chemical alteration of the sample.

We will formulate revolutionary technology breakthroughs that will enable the development of sample acquisition systems and relevant instruments capable of in-situ operation during NASA's missions to extremely cold environments, with Saturn's moon Titan as the exemplar. Identifying these technologies will be the focus of our proposed KISS Study Program. Our program has the potential to develop innovative ideas for future space missions based on our strategy that includes a unique cross-fertilization of key experts from multi-institutional backgrounds: Caltech, JPL, industry, and other academic institutions. The workshops, study period, and opportunities for junior members of the community are aimed to specifically promote and benefit JPL-Caltech-external collaborations.

Workshop Participants:

  • Oded Aharonson - Caltech
  • Jack L. Beauchamp - Caltech
  • Patricia Beauchamp - JPL/Caltech
  • Benjamin Blalock - University of Tennessee
  • Morgan Cable - Caltech
  • Bin Chen - Caltech
  • George D. Cody - Carnegie Institution of Washington
  • John D. Cressler - Georgia Tech
  • Richard Flagan - Caltech
  • Julia Greer - Caltech
  • Jeff L. Hall - JPL
  • Alexander G. Hayes - Caltech
  • Robert Hodyss - JPL
  • Paul M. Holland - Thorleaf Research, Inc
  • Sarah Horst - University of Arizona
  • Jennifer M. Jackson - Caltech
  • Andrew T. Jennings - Caltech
  • Wayne Johnson - Auburn University
  • Elizabeth Kolawa - JPL
  • Ralph Lorenz - Johns Hopkins University
  • Jonathan I. Lunine - University of Rome, Tor Vergata
  • Harish M. Manohara - JPL
  • Mohammad M. Mojarradi - JPL
  • Kim R. Reh - JPL
  • Rocco Samuele - Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
  • Andrew A. Shapiro - JPL/Caltech
  • Mark A. Smith - University of Arizona
  • Peter Willis - JPL/Caltech
  • Wayne F. Zimmerman - JPL/Caltech

Short Course Presentations

Jonathan Lunine

Short Course on Planetary Science of Titan
(video 1)
(video 2)

Workshop Presentations

Oded Aharonson

TiME: Titan Mare Explorer

Jack Beauchamp

Overview of GC-MS and Chemistry Instruments

Pat Beauchamp

Instrument Constraints and Necessary Science Goals

John Cressler

Future of Low T Electronics

Rick Flagan

Atmospheric Sampling of Aerosols and Cloud Droplets

Julia R. Greer

Mechanical Properties of Materials under Extreme Environments
(video 1) (video 2) (video 3) (video 4)

Alexander G. Hayes

Liquid Properties on Titan

Ralph D. Lorenz

The Huygens Probe at Titan

Kim Reh

Future Mission to Titan and Enceladus

Peter Willis

Lab-on-a-Chip System Development for In Situ Exploration of Titan

Wayne Zimmerman

Surface Sampling/Handling