Titan's North Polar Region
October 11, 2007
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This Cassini false-color mosaic shows all synthetic-aperture radar images to date of Titan's north polar region. Approximately 60 percent of Titan's north polar region, above 60 degrees north latitude, is now mapped with radar. About 14 percent of the mapped region is covered by what is interpreted as liquid hydrocarbon lakes.
Features appearing darkest to the radar, which are thought to be liquid, are shown in blue and black, and the radar-bright areas likely to be solid surface are tinted brown. The terrain in the top center of this mosaic is imaged at lower resolution than the remainder of the image.
Most of the many lakes and seas seen so far are contained in this image, including the largest known body of liquid on Titan. These seas are most likely filled with liquid ethane, methane and dissolved nitrogen.
Many bays, islands and presumed tributary networks are associated with the seas. The large feature in the upper right center of this image is at least 100,000 square kilometers (40,000 square miles) in area, greater in extent than Lake Superior (82,000 square kilometers or 32,000 square miles), one of Earth's largest lakes. This Titan feature covers a greater fraction of the surface, at least 0.12 percent, than the Black Sea, Earth's largest terrestrial inland sea, at 0.085 percent. Larger seas may exist, as it is probable that some of these bodies are connected, either in areas unmapped by radar or under the surface. (See Exploring the Wetlands of Titan).
Of the 400 observed lakes and seas, 70 percent of their area is taken up by large "seas" greater than 26,000 square kilometers (10,000 square miles).
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian Space Agency, working with team members from the United States and several European countries.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm .