Possible detection of hydrazine on Saturn’s moon Rhea

Elowitz, Mark; Sivaraman, Bhalamurugan; Hendrix, Amanda; Lo, Jen-Iu; Chou, Sheng-Lung; Cheng, Bing-Ming; Sekhar, B. N. Raja and Mason, Nigel J. (2021). Possible detection of hydrazine on Saturn’s moon Rhea. Science Advances, 7(4), article no. eaba5749.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aba5749

Abstract

We present the first analysis of far-ultraviolet reflectance spectra of regions on Rhea’s leading and trailing hemispheres collected by the Cassini Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph during targeted flybys. In particular, we aim to explain the unidentified broad absorption feature centred near 184 nm. We have used laboratory measurements of the UV spectroscopy of a set of candidate molecules and found a good fit to Rhea’s spectra with both hydrazine monohydrate and several chlorine-containing molecules. Given the radiation-dominated chemistry on the surface of icy satellites embedded within their planets’ magnetospheres, hydrazine monohydrate is argued to be the most plausible candidate for explaining the absorption feature at 184 nm. Hydrazine was also used as a propellant in Cassini’s thrusters, but the thrusters were not used during icy satellite flybys and thus the signal is believed to not arise from spacecraft fuel. We discuss how hydrazine monohydrate may be chemically produced on icy surfaces.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Metrics

Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions

Export

About

  • Item ORO ID
  • 75037
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 2375-2548
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2021 Mark Elowitz, © 2021 Bhalamurugan Sivaraman, © 2021 Amanda Hendrix, © 2021 Jen-Iu Lo, © 2021 Sheng-Lung Chou, © 2021 Bing-Ming Cheng, © 2021 B. N. Raja Sekhar, © 2021 Nigel J. Mason
  • SWORD Depositor
  • Jisc Publications-Router
  • Depositing User
  • Jisc Publications-Router

Recommendations