Special Issue "Interiors of Icy Ocean Worlds"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (7 June 2019)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Steven D. Vance

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: ocean worlds; geophysics; astrobiology; missions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are soliciting contributions for a Special Issue devoted to "Interiors of Icy Ocean Worlds". In recent decades, robotic missions have returned evidence of liquid water oceans on Jupiter's icy moons Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, and in Saturn's moons Enceladus, Titan, and possibly Mimas and Dione. The icy moons of Uranus and Neptune—especially Triton—may also have oceans. Extinct or remnant oceans seem likely on the dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto. Oceanic worlds provide the best analogues in our solar system to a class of likely water-rich "super Earth" exoplanets. Geophysical measurements by future robotic missions can reveal the compositional and rheological structures and the thermal states of icy ocean worlds. The interior density, temperature, sound speed, and electrical conductivity thus characterize their habitability. In recent years, improvements in computational capabilities have enabled new insights into the interiors of icy ocean worlds, including the geodynamics of their icy lithospheres, coupled thermal and orbital evolution, and the flow of fluids in their oceans. Future spacecraft measurements require the further development of computational techniques for forward models and the inversion of data sets. Laboratory studies of material properties, chemistry, and spectral characteristics are needed in the large domain of pressure, temperature, and composition. This Special Issue solicits theoretical, numerical, and laboratory studies advancing our ability to acquire and interpret vital information about the interiors of icy ocean worlds.

Dr. Steven D. Vance
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • ocean worlds
  • geophysics
  • astrobiology
  • laboratory studies
  • missions

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
High Pressure Hydrocarbons Revisited: From van der Waals Compounds to Diamond
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050227
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
Methane and other hydrocarbons are major components of the mantle regions of icy planets. Several recent computational studies have investigated the high-pressure behaviour of specific hydrocarbons. To develop a global picture of hydrocarbon stability, to identify relevant decomposition reactions, and probe eventual formation [...] Read more.
Methane and other hydrocarbons are major components of the mantle regions of icy planets. Several recent computational studies have investigated the high-pressure behaviour of specific hydrocarbons. To develop a global picture of hydrocarbon stability, to identify relevant decomposition reactions, and probe eventual formation of diamond, a complete study of all hydrocarbons is needed. Using density functional theory calculations we survey here all known C-H crystal structures augmented by targeted crystal structure searches to build hydrocarbon phase diagrams in the ground state and at elevated temperatures. We find that an updated pressure-temperature phase diagram for methane is dominated at intermediate pressures by CH 4 :H 2 van der Waals inclusion compounds. We discuss the P-T phase diagram for CH and CH 2 (i.e., polystyrene and polyethylene) to illustrate that diamond formation conditions are strongly composition dependent. Finally, crystal structure searches uncover a new CH 4 (H 2 ) 2 van der Waals compound, the most hydrogen-rich hydrocarbon, stable between 170 and 220 GPa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interiors of Icy Ocean Worlds)
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