Science goals and new mission concepts for future exploration of Titan's atmosphere geology and habitability: Titan POlar Scout/orbitEr and In situ lake lander and DrONe explorer (POSEIDON) - Équipe Plasmas Spatiaux du Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas (LPP) Access content directly
Journal Articles Experimental Astronomy Year : 2022

Science goals and new mission concepts for future exploration of Titan's atmosphere geology and habitability: Titan POlar Scout/orbitEr and In situ lake lander and DrONe explorer (POSEIDON)

Sébastien Rodriguez (1) , Sandrine Vinatier (2) , Daniel Cordier (3) , Gabriel Tobie (4) , Richard K. Achterberg (5) , Carrie M. Anderson (6) , Sarah V. Badman (7) , Jason W. Barnes (8) , Erika L. Barth (9) , Bruno Bézard (2) , Nathalie Carrasco (10) , Benjamin Charnay (2) , Roger N. Clark (11) , Patrice Coll (12) , Thomas Cornet (13) , Athena Coustenis (2) , Isabelle Couturier-Tamburelli (14) , Michel Dobrijevic (15) , F. Michael Flasar (6) , Remco de Kok (16) , Caroline Freissinet (10) , Marina Galand (17) , Thomas Gautier (10) , Wolf D. Geppert (18) , Caitlin A. Griffith (19) , Murthy S. Gudipati (20) , Lina Z. Hadid (21) , Alexander G. Hayes (22) , Amanda R. Hendrix (11) , Ralf Jauman (23) , Donald E. Jennings (6) , Antoine Jolly (12) , Klara Kalousova (24) , Tommi T. Koskinen (19) , Panayotis Lavvas (3) , Sébastien Lebonnois (25) , Jean-Pierre Lebreton (26) , Alice Le Gall (10) , Emmanuel Lellouch (2) , Stéphane Le Mouélic (4) , Rosaly M. C. Lopes (20) , Juan M. Lora (27) , Ralph D. Lorenz (28) , Antoine Lucas (1) , Shannon Mackenzie (28) , Michael J. Malaska (20) , Kathleen Mandt (28) , Marco Mastrogiuseppe (29) , Claire E. Newman (30) , Conor A. Nixon (6) , Jani Radebaugh (31) , Scot C. Rafkin (9) , Pascal Rannou (3) , Ella M. Sciamma-O-Brien (32) , Jason M. Soderblom (33) , Anezina Solomonidou (34) , Christophe Sotin (4) , Katrin Stephan (35) , Darrell Strobel (36) , Cyril Szopa (10) , Nicholas A. Teanby (37) , Elizabeth P. Turtle (28) , Véronique Vuitton (38) , Robert A. West (20)
1 IPGP (UMR_7154) - Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris
2 LESIA - Laboratoire d'études spatiales et d'instrumentation en astrophysique = Laboratory of Space Studies and Instrumentation in Astrophysics
3 GSMA - Groupe de spectrométrie moléculaire et atmosphérique
4 LPG - Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géosciences [UMR_C 6112]
5 Department of Astronomy [College Park]
6 GSFC - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
7 Department of Physics and Astronomy [Leicester]
8 University of Idaho [Moscow, USA]
9 SwRI - Southwest Research Institute [Boulder]
11 PSI - Planetary Science Institute [Tucson]
12 LISA (UMR_7583) - Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques
13 ESAC - European Space Astronomy Centre
14 PIIM - Physique des interactions ioniques et moléculaires
15 LAB - Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux [Pessac]
16 Department of Physical Geography [Utrecht]
17 Department of Physics [Imperial College London]
18 Department of Physics [Stockholm]
19 LPL - Lunar and Planetary Laboratory [Tucson]
20 JPL - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
21 LPP - Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas
22 Cornell University [New York]
23 Institute of Geological Sciences [Berlin]
24 Faculty of Mathematics and Physics [Charles University of Praha]
25 LMD - Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (UMR 8539)
26 LPC2E - Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement et de l'Espace
27 Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences [New Haven]
28 APL - Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory [Laurel, MD]
29 UNIROMA - Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" = Sapienza University [Rome]
30 Aeolis Research
31 Department of Geological Sciences [BYU]
32 Space Science and Astrobiology Division at Ames
33 EAPS - Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences [MIT, Cambridge]
34 Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences [Pasadena]
35 DLR Institut für Planetenforschung
36 JHU - Johns Hopkins University
37 School of Earth Sciences [Bristol]
38 IPAG - Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble
Nathalie Carrasco
Thomas Cornet
Caroline Freissinet
Thomas Gautier
Lina Z. Hadid
Ralf Jauman
Alice Le Gall
Antoine Lucas
Claire E. Newman
  • Function : Author
Cyril Szopa
Nicholas A. Teanby
  • Function : Correspondent author


In response to ESA Voyage 2050 announcement of opportunity, we propose an ambitious L-class mission to explore one of the most exciting bodies in the Solar System, Saturn largest moon Titan. Titan, a "world with two oceans", is an organic-rich body with interior-surface-atmosphere interactions that are comparable in complexity to the Earth. Titan is also one of the few places in the Solar System with habitability potential. Titan remarkable nature was only partly revealed by the Cassini-Huygens mission and still holds mysteries requiring a complete exploration using a variety of vehicles and instruments. The proposed mission concept POSEIDON (Titan POlar Scout/orbitEr and In situ lake lander DrONe explorer) would perform joint orbital and in situ investigations of Titan. It is designed to build on and exceed the scope and scientific/technological accomplishments of Cassini-Huygens, exploring Titan in ways that were not previously possible, in particular through full close-up and in situ coverage over long periods of time. In the proposed mission architecture, POSEIDON consists of two major elements: a spacecraft with a large set of instruments that would orbit Titan, preferably in a low-eccentricity polar orbit, and a suite of in situ investigation components, i.e. a lake lander, a "heavy" drone (possibly amphibious) and/or a fleet of mini-drones, dedicated to the exploration of the polar regions. The ideal arrival time at Titan would be slightly before the next northern Spring equinox (2039), as equinoxes are the most active periods to monitor still largely unknown atmospheric and surface seasonal changes. The exploration of Titan northern latitudes with an orbiter and in situ element(s) would be highly complementary with the upcoming NASA New Frontiers Dragonfly mission that will provide in situ exploration of Titan equatorial regions in the mid-2030s.
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Dates and versions

hal-03395339 , version 1 (25-10-2021)
hal-03395339 , version 2 (12-01-2022)
hal-03395339 , version 3 (18-03-2023)





Sébastien Rodriguez, Sandrine Vinatier, Daniel Cordier, Gabriel Tobie, Richard K. Achterberg, et al.. Science goals and new mission concepts for future exploration of Titan's atmosphere geology and habitability: Titan POlar Scout/orbitEr and In situ lake lander and DrONe explorer (POSEIDON). Experimental Astronomy, 2022, ⟨10.1007/s10686-021-09815-8⟩. ⟨hal-03395339v2⟩
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