With the recent success of the Huygens lander on Titan, a moon of Saturn, there has been renewed interest in further exploring the acoustic environments of the other planets in the solar system. The direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method is used here for modeling sound propagation in the atmospheres of Earth, Mars, and Titan at a variety of altitudes above the surface. DSMC is a particle method that describes gas dynamics through direct physical modeling of particle motions and collisions. The validity of DSMC for the entire range of Knudsen numbers (Kn), where Kn is defined as the mean free path divided by the wavelength, allows for the exploration of sound propagation in planetary environments for all values of Kn. DSMC results at a variety of altitudes on Earth, Mars, and Titan including the details of nonlinearity, absorption, dispersion, and molecular relaxation in gas mixtures are given for a wide range of Kn showing agreement with various continuum theories at low Kn and deviation from continuum theory at high Kn. Despite large computation time and memory requirements, DSMC is the method best suited to study high altitude effects or where continuum theory is not valid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-650
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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