|These infrared views of Titan peer through the gloom|
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Stéphane Le Mouélic, University of Nantes, Virginia Pasek, University of Arizona
Topics: Astrophysics, Cassini, Exoplanets, Moon, Space Exploration
Slowly but surely, the surface of Saturn’s strange moon Titan is being revealed. Researchers have made the first map of the geology of Titan’s entire surface, and it will eventually help us figure out what the climate is like there.
Titan’s atmosphere is full of a thick, orange haze that blocks visible light from reaching the surface, making it difficult for spacecraft to take pictures. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017, took radar and infrared data of Titan’s surface, giving researchers a hint of the terrain below.
Rosaly Lopes at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and her colleagues assembled those observations and placed each area, or unit, into one of six categories: lakes, craters, dunes, plains, hummocky terrain – meaning hills and mountains – and labyrinth, which looks like heavily eroded plateaus. They then made a map of where each of those terrains exists on Titan’s surface.
We have the first full map of the weird surface features of Titan
Leah Crane, New Scientist