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About Saturn & Its Moons

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Titan - Science Objectives

Artist concept of a calm liquid ethane-methane lake on Titan.
Artist's concept of a calm liquid ethane-methane lake on Titan.
Cassini's Equinox Mission science objectives for Titan are listed below.

Objectives related to seasonal change in the Saturn System:

  • Determine seasonal changes in methane-hydrocarbon hydrological cycle of lakes, clouds, aerosols and their seasonal transport.


  • Determine seasonal changes in the high-latitude atmosphere, specifically the temperature structure and formation and breakup of the winter polar vortex.


  • Observe Titan's plasma interaction as it goes from south to north of Saturn's solar-wind-warped magnetodisk from one solstice to the next.


Objectives related to new questions raised during Cassini's primary mission:

  • Determine the types, composition, distribution and ages of surface units and materials, most notably lakes (i.e., filled vs. dry, depth, liquid vs. solid, composition, polar vs. other latitudes, and lake-basin origin).


  • Determine internal and crustal structure: Liquid mantle, crustal mass distribution, rotational state of the surface with time, intrinsic and/or internal induced magnetic field.


  • Measure aerosol and heavy molecule layers and properties.


  • Resolve current inconsistencies in atmospheric densities (critical to a future Flagship mission).


  • Determine icy shell topography and viscosity.


  • Determine the surface temperature distribution and cloud distribution.


  • Determine surface & tropospheric winds.