Elizabeth "Zibi" TurtleJul 15, 2009

Why Titan is so exciting

by Zibi Turtle

Just over five years ago, on 30 June 2004, the Cassini orbiter and the Huygens probe it was delivering to Titan went into orbit around Saturn and began detailed exploration of the Saturnian system. Over this time more and more of the surface of Saturn's moon Titan has been covered by the suite of complementary instruments, and as we learn more Titan becomes increasingly intriguing.

Map of Titan

NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute

Map of Titan
Map of Titan's surface created from images acquired by Cassini's Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) through February 2009 at a wavelength of 938 nm.
Southern Canyons of Titan

NASA / JPL

Southern Canyons of Titan
Cassini synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image of an intricate system of valleys carved by rivers of liquid methane.
Titan's Dunes

NASA / JPL

Titan's Dunes
SAR image of dark longitudinal dunes that have formed around higher-standing bright areas.
Hotei Arcus, Titan

NASA / JPL / USGS

Hotei Arcus, Titan
SAR image and topography from a stereo-pair of SAR images acquired by Cassini's RADAR instrument of Hotei Arcus, an area that is hypothesized to have been the site of cryovolcanic eruptions.
Titan's Impact Craters

NASA / JPL

Titan's Impact Craters
SAR images of impact craters, 112 km (left) and 80 km (right) in diameter.

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