Astronomers have used data from NASA’s Cassini mission to map the entire surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. The map reveals fields as diverse as mountains, plains, valleys, craters and lakes.
Reporting from the Nature page, Tuesday (11/19/2019) the Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn from 2004 to 2017. Cassini collects information about Saturn from 2004 to 2017 and the surrounding months.
The mission included more than 100 Titan fly-bys, which allowed researchers to see the surface of the moon through its thick atmosphere and surveyed its terrain in unprecedented detail.
Rosaly Lopes, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and her colleagues sewed images and radar measurements taken by spacecraft to produce the first global map of Titan. They published it on November 18 in Nature Astronomy.
“Titan has an atmosphere like Earth. There is wind, rain, there is a mountain. This is a very interesting world, and one of the best places in the Solar System to look for life, “Lopes said.
Nearly two-thirds of Titan’s surface consists of flat terrain, said the map, and 17% is covered by sand dunes formed by the wind, mostly around the equator.
About 14% of the surface is classified as hilly or mountainous hummocky and 1.5% is a ‘labyrinth’ field. It is surprising that a little impact crater, showing that the surface of the moon is quite young.