How speed of sound measurements could bring constraints on the composition of Titan's seas
The hydrocarbons seas of Titan, discovered by Cassini/Huygens mission are among the most mysterious and interesting features of this moon. In the future, a possible dedicated planetary probe, will certainly measure the speed of sound in this cryogenic liquid, as it was planned in the case of a Huygens landing into a sea. Previous theoretical studies of such acoustic measurements were based on rather simple models, leading in some cases to unphysical situations. Employed in a vast body of chemical engineering works, the state of the art PC-SAFT model has been recently introduced in studies aimed at Titan. Here, I revisit the issue of the speed of sound in Titan's liquids, in the light of this theory. I describe, in detail, the derivation of the speed of sound from the chosen equation of state and the potential limitations of the approach. To make estimations of the composition of a ternary liquid mixture N2:CH4:C2H6 from speed of sound measurements an original inversion algorithm is proposed. It is shown that 50 measures between 90 K and 100 K are enough to ensure an accuracy of the derived compositions better than 10%. The influence of the possible presence of propane is also investigated.