Friday, November 04, 2016

Was Titan's Nitrogen Atmosphere was Originally Ammonia?




Nitrogen isotope fractionation in predissociation of N2 (Liang et al., 2007) is combined with production of N(4S), N(2D), and N+ in dissociation and dissociative ionization by the solar EUV photons, photoelectrons, magnetospheric electrons and protons, and cosmic rays from the photochemical model. The calculated 14N/15N ratio in nitriles is 57, in excellent agreement with the observed ratio in HCN. Loss of nitrogen in condensation and polymerization of nitriles is 392 g cm−2 Byr−1 with nitrogen isotope fractionation factor of 2.8. Loss of nitrogen by sputtering is 57 g cm−2 Byr−1 (De La Haye et al., 2007) with fractionation factor of 0.73 (Mandt et al., 2014). If the current loss was constant throughout the age of the Solar System, then the initial 14N/15N ratio on Titan is 129, similar to 127±32 for ammonia in comets (Rousselot et al., 2014). However, the solar EUV and wind were stronger from the young Sun, and this tends to further reduce the initial 14N/15N ratio. Nevertheless uncertainties of the problem and of the ratio in comets support the idea that nitrogen on Titan appeared as ammonia ice with 14N/15N similar to that in comets.

No comments: