Experimental Analysis of the Outer Solar System Workshop

With the growing need for more missions to the outer solar system and lack of data for certain planetary bodies, experimental laboratory work helps supplement mission planetary data and modeling. Laboratory work on the chemical and physical behaviors of ices can lead to surprising research, helping us better understand the processes that we detect and how to better our instrumentation for future probes or strengthen our modeling capabilities. This two-day workshop was convened to address the challenges and opportunities in current experimental techniques and findings of icy planetary bodies.

To explore how much we currently know about the technologies and instrumentation involved in the laboratory setting for learning about the outer solar system, and discuss the primary objectives for such instrumentations, the first Experimental Analysis of the Outer Solar System was held August 15–16, 2018, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This workshop sought to exchange ideas among experimentalists with common interests in surface or irradiation processes, chemistry, geophysical, or kinetic processes on icy bodies. Topics included, but were not limited to, jovian moons, saturnian moons, atmospheres, characterization and roles of irradiation, chemical interactions, ice structures and spectroscopy, and developed techniques.

The workshop discussions led to the definition of several primary open scientific questions in this area currently:

  • What are the thermodynamics and kinetics of dissolution mixtures on Titan’s surface?
  • What constraints in thermal properties for ocean world interiors can be found using mineral physics laboratories?
  • How can we improve current phase diagrams of ice mixtures relevant to Kuiper belt objects?
  • How can we test new instrument techniques regarding the hardness of hydrocarbons and cryogenic materials?

The workshop was convened by Caitlin Ahrens, Vincent Chevrier, and Larry Roe of the Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences. The program and abstracts are available on the workshop website at https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/exoss2018/.