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Exploring the surface of Titan

Lorenz, R. D. (1994) Exploring the surface of Titan. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86272) (KAR id:86272)

Language: English

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The exploration of Saturn's giant satellite Titan is considered, with particular reference to its surface which is hidden beneath a thick atmosphere. Groundbased observations, in which great progress has been made recently, and the measurements made by the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft, are reviewed. Concepts for spacecraft to perform in-situ measurements on Titan are reviewed, as is the development of the NASA/ESA Cassini mission, how the mission constrains scientific investigations, and in turn how the mission has been constrained by funding pressures. The capabilities of the Cassini payload for investigating Titan's surface are critically assessed, and the ability of the Surface Science Package (SSP) on the Huygens probe to determine the composition of surface liquids is examined. Some thoughts on payload selection and the value of individual measurements are presented.

The development of an impact penetrometer, and the interpretation of penetrometer and accelerometer data to measure surface mechanical properties, is described. It should be noted that Huygens is not a vehicle expressly designed as a lander, so the impact dynamics are complex. Additionally, the examination of the prospects offered by acoustic instrumentation are investigated.

Modelling of a number of Titan surface processes is presented, including rainfall, photochemical and meteoric deposition, tidal dissipation in the interior, regolith processes such as volatile heat transport, annealing and aeolian transportation and the effects of tidal and crustal processes on lakes.

A key subtopic of the thesis addresses the theme of planetary exploration as a whole, with the interaction between and the limitations of the exploration 'triad' of observations, insitu measurements and theory. Note is made of the remarkably significant role played by individuals and their perceptions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86272
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Saturn; Titan; Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:47 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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