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B.P. Michael (CUA and NASA/GSFC), J.E. Allen, Jr. (NASA/GSFC)
The interpretation of planetary observations and modeling of planetary atmospheres are critically dependent on accurate data for the properties of various atmospheric constituents. For example, temperature-dependent rates for the relaxation of methane by nitrogen, most notably vibrational-to-translational (V-T) energy transfer, will be required for the proper interpretation of data returned from the nitrogen-based atmospheres observed by Cassini/Huygens and the Pluto-Kuiper Express spacecraft. However, there are very little experimental data available on the interaction of these two molecules and what is available has only been taken at room temperature. To address this shortfall of critically important data, we have undertaken a set of experiments to determine the \nu4 relaxation of methane by nitrogen using a photoacoustic method. We will present our latest relaxation rates at selected temperatures below 300 K and compare these results to those of Yardley and Moore and several theoretical calculations.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.