Tuesday, January 10, 2017
4:00 pm
South Mudd 365

Planetary Science Seminar

What Makes Titan Tick: Exploring Titan Surface Chemistry in the Laboratory
Morgan Cable, Research Scientist, JPL

Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is the only place in the solar system aside from Earth with standing liquid on its surface. It's much colder on Titan, however, so this liquid is not water but hydrocarbons, mostly methane and ethane. Despite the cold, Titan has revealed itself to be a very active world. From photochemistry in the atmosphere to erosion features on the surface, this moon has tantalized us at every turn, but we are only beginning to understand Titan as a system. Morgan Cable will present some recent laboratory work about unusual co-crystalline structures that may exist on Titan, as well as evidence that solid-phase chemistry can occur rapidly at Titan surface conditions even at low temperature. These discoveries are changing how we view Titan as a prebiotic chemical laboratory on a planetary scale.

 

Morgan L. Cable earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Caltech in 2010, where she investigated various lanthanide-based receptor sites for the detection of bacterial spores. As a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow (2010-2013) and currently as a research scientist in the Imaging Spectroscopy group at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Morgan's work continues to focus on organic and biomarker detection strategies, through both in situ and remote sensing techniques. She also serves as an Assistant Project Science Systems Engineer for the Cassini Mission, and is a Collaborator on the Mapping Imaging Spectrometer for Europa (MISE) instrument.

 

Contact Elizabeth Bailey ebailey@caltech.edu
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