Remote Sensing of Hydrocarbons on Titan
John M. Curchin, Roger N. Clark, 2013. "Remote Sensing of Hydrocarbons on Titan", Energy Resources for Human Settlement in the Solar System and Earth’s Future in Space, William A. Ambrose, James F. Reilly, II, Douglas C. Peters
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Hydrocarbon reservoirs at Titan come in many forms—as gases and condensates in the atmosphere; as surface accumulations of liquid in lakes, slushy soils, and solid sediments; and in the subsurface, perhaps caged within clathrate hydrates and/or as part of a global hydrocarbon aquifer. Because Titan is so far from the Sun and contains multiple atmospheric haze layers, information on its surface features and their composition is extremely difficult to obtain and is acquired via imaging instruments that operate at wavelengths less affected by the haze. Unfortunately, the data are commonly of low resolution, and divergent interpretations abound. However, with the multinational Cassini spacecraft currently orbiting Saturn on its extended Solstice mission, Titan’s surface composition is slowly coming into focus. This review will attempt to synthesize the current state of knowledge of hydrocarbon presence and distribution at Titan, emphasizing those observations that have direct compositional relevance to compounds in the atmosphere and on the surface.