As is probably obvious by now, I love playing with spacecraft image data. I am always looking for excuses to dive into space image archives to unearth images of stuff in space that haven't really been seen by very many people before.
Today's science press release out of the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting concerns changes in lakes near Titan's south pole observed during Cassini's mission. In brief, repeat Cassini RADAR observations of the same spots during different Titan flybys turned up places where there appeared to be dark lakes in earlier images and dry lakes in later images.
The Cassini spacecraft made its 59th flyby of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, on Friday, July 24, and in the last few hours we have received images from the RADAR instrument in SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) mode.
Each Titan flyby is not a fork in the road, but rather a Los Angeles style cloverleaf in terms of the dizzying number of possible destinations. So how did our current and future plans for the path of the Cassini spacecraft come to be? That's the question Dave Seal put to me since that's my job -- I am a tour designer.
This time around DPS features three separate oral sessions on Titan, indicating just how much attention that moon is getting from the scientific community right now. From the first session, on Titan's lower atmosphere, I'm just covering the two talks on Titan's lakes.
A press release from the Cassini VIMS team today is titled "NASA Confirms Liquid Lake on Saturn Moon." This may be making some of you ask: but wait, haven't they already proven there's liquid lakes on Titan?