Beijing time on September 9 news, according tomedia reports, Titan smell like what? Experts say the air on Saturn’s largest moon is filled with sweet musk, bitter almonds, gasoline and rotting fish. Titan is Saturn’s largest moon, comparable in size to Umun, making it the largest moon in the solar system. If Titan’s atmosphere were stripped, it would be slightly larger.
Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, is a vibrant world with a dense atmosphere, hydrocarbon lakes and many different odors.
Titan has an atmosphere that is four times denser than Earth’s, and while no special spacesuits are needed to withstand this pressure, some outdoor warm clothing is needed because titan’s surface temperature is very cold, as low as minus 179 degrees Celsius, compared with the lowest temperature recorded on Earth, which was as low as minus 89 degrees Celsius at Wostock Station in Antarctica in 1983.
When the Huyens probe landed on the surface of Titan, it captured the amazing Titan. Experts say that if humans do reach Titan in the future, they may first notice not sight, but smell.
So when astronauts walk on Titan’s surface, they must cover their skin with heat to avoid quick frostbite, but they don’t need the bulky spacesuits they wear on the moon or in a vacuum. Since there is no oxygen in Titan’s atmosphere, the main component of which is nitrogen, as well as about 5% methane and some other trace gases, astronauts must carry oxygen themselves.
If you want to travel on Titan, you can imagine people wearing similar clothing worn by Antarctic researchers in winter, which might include clothes with multiple insulation layers, futurist heating components, thick gloves, hats, balaclavas, extremely cold steam boots (which Antarctic researchers affectionately refer to as rabbit boots or Mickey Mouse boots), the only necessary modification being an insulated oxygen mask, and perhaps a heater to prevent frostbite in your lungs. As long as oxygen remains circulating, the spacesuit doesn’t even need to be completely sealed, as if: “Your bag can’t be inflated, but oxygen is still circulating in it.” “
This leads to an interesting thought experiment: if people don’t need a sealed spacesuit on titan’s surface, then an oxygen mask can breathe into their surroundings, and what does Titan smell like at this point?
Titan residual odor.
Although Titan is small compared to Saturn, it is one of the largest moons in the solar system, with a diameter of 2,600 kilometers, about half the diameter of the moon, but unlike the moon, it has a dense, fuzzy atmosphere.
Based on observations from NASA’s Cassini and European Space Agency’s Huyens probe, we have a good understanding of titan’s atmospheric composition, so we can boldly guess what the planet smells like.
The two main components of Titan’s atmosphere are nitrogen and methane, which have no odor, and you might think that the unique smell of methane is actually another gas (methanol), which is added to methane gas for human use due to safety. Methanol has a special smell and smells like a rotten egg, and its content can be detected by the human nose, and by adding this odorous chemical to methane and natural gas, we humans can quickly identify and deal with potentially dangerous leaks.
So, are there any other smells in Titan’s atmosphere? The researchers’ list of trace components measured or predicted in Titan’s atmosphere includes hydrogen (H2), carbon monoxide (CO), ethane (C2H6), ethylene (C2H4), acetylene (C2H2), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), ammonia (NH3), acetylene (C3H4), acetylene (C3HN), benzene (C6H6), methane cyanide (CH3CN), methylamine (CH3NH2).
Some of these gases have no odor, but some still have special odors. Hydrogen, carbon monoxide and ethane have no odor at all, and it may be thought that acetylene has a special odor, but in fact it is as odorless as methane, and the acetylene used in welding operations contains hydrogen phosphate impurities that give off a garlic flavor.
Titan’s thick atmosphere (dark blue part of the image) extends hundreds of kilometers above titan’s surface in a pseudo-color image taken by the Cassini probe.
Ethylene in Titan’s atmosphere is the simplest olefin (two carbon atoms are bonded together by double bonds) and is a common plant hormone that can affect fruit ripening and seed germination. Its pure form has a sweet and musky odor, similar to acetylene used in many chemical and organic synthesis reactions, a sweet, ether-like odor, in addition to propylene, also known as methyl acetylene, used in welding and rocket fuel.
In addition, there is hydrogen cyanide, with the taste of bitter almonds, in some spy-themed movies, hydrogen cyanide is a killing tool, with a highly toxic. Hydrogen cyanide is very rapid, in the air with a very low concentration of hydrogen cyanide (0.005mg/L), people only have a short period of headache, discomfort, arrhythm, in the high concentration of hydrogen cyanide (0.1mg/L) in the air, people will die immediately.
Titan’s surface may not have a very attractive odor, but ammonia in the atmosphere is a strong pungent odor, which is often used in fertilizers, or as the main component of sniffing salts, and produces a particularly concentrated smell of urine.
On top of that, Titan also has methamphetamine, the protagonist of the TV series Breaking Bad, who is the ancestor of methamphetamine, a substance that smells like rotting fish, though not the point. These chemicals are by-products of the breakdown of animal tissue, and some organisms generate energy through methane production processes.
Benzene is a known carcinogenic compound in crude oil and is also present in Titan’s atmosphere. Although it is a carcinogen, it has a sweet, aromatic, gasoline-like odor that is close to that of organic solvents.
The taste of Titan.
In this artist’s illustration, Titan’s hydrocarbon ocean waves hit the beach, helping Titan form more complex molecules.
Titan has a number of potential odors, including: sweet, bitter, spicy, rotting fish odor, and some subtle smells. But it’s important to remember that Titan’s very cold surface means that only small molecules interact weakly between molecules to maintain volatility at a low enough boiling point (which makes them easy to turn into steam). Only these tiny molecules can penetrate through gas masks and reach the astronauts’ noses.
So far, we have listed all odor compounds as solid on Titan’s surface, which means they are not volatile, with the exception of one compound: ethylene. The hydrocarbon has a freezing point of minus 169 degrees Celsius, just slightly above Titan’s surface temperature. In some experiments, scientists have found that ethylene remains liquid at minus 183 degrees Celsius. It is generally believed that this is due to a decrease in freezing point, i.e. salt dissolved in liquid reduces the solidification point of the mixture (which is why snow sweepers sprinkle salt on winter roads to prevent icing). Therefore, ethylene is the most volatile molecule on Titan’s surface, and it brings a sweet smell.
However, the story of Titan’s smell is not over, and we need to take into account the sensitivity of the human nose. Human odor thresholds are real and you can find them in a variety of compounds. So even if a substance is frozen to solids, at least some molecules escape. If the human nose is sensitive enough to detect them, the brain records the smell.
In terms of odor thresholds, three molecules stand out: hydrogen cyanide and benzene have the same odor threshold – 5 ppm (one in a million), and methamidophos threshold – 0.0021ppm. In contrast, it takes up to 270 ppm to smell ethylene. This is equivalent to mixing the taste of gasoline, almonds and dead fish.
Finally, we must also take into account the ability of humans to perceive odors, known as olfactory acuity, depending on factors such as age, smoking habits, sex and nasal allergies. In addition, there are genetic factors that play a role, such as the previous mention of hydrogen cyanide, which is not ardnified. At the same time, the smell of Titan is influenced by how well each astronaut smells.
So, to answer what the smell of Titan is? We think the most common answers for astronauts are: sweet, scented (ethylene), fishy (methamine), and a little bitter almond (hydrogen cyanide), gasoline (benzene).
Recently, NASA selected the “Plan” to launch a small rotorcraft to land on the surface of Titan in 2034, after which it will fly off the surface of Titan to explore other Saturn moons on a larger scale.
Is the answer accurate? The final answer will be revealed by NASA’s space program in the future. Recently, NASA selected the “Plan” to launch a small rotorcraft to land on the surface of Titan in 2034, after which it will fly off the surface of Titan to explore other Saturn moons on a larger scale. During its mission, the craft will use its state-of-the-art equipment to directly detect molecules in Titan’s atmosphere and surface. (Ye Tingcheng)