Space Science Reviews

, Volume 116, Issue 1, pp 171-184

First online:

Formation and Evolution of Titan’s Atmosphere

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The origin and evolution of Titan’s enigmatic atmosphere is reviewed. Starting with the present-day volatile inventory, the question of what was the original composition on Titan and how a satellite of similar size to other Galilean moons managed to acquire and hold on to the required material is discussed. In particular the possible sources and sinks of the main mother molecules (nitrogen, methane and oxygen) are investigated in view of the most recent models and laboratory experiments. The answers expected to be provided by the instruments aboard the Cassini-Huygens mission to some of the most prominent current questions regarding Titan’s atmosphere are defined.


Satellites Titan atmospheres Solar System infrared space missions