June 8, 2005
On Oct. 26, 2004, the Cassini spacecraft flew over Saturn's moon Titan at less than 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) at closest approach. Cassini acquired several infrared images with spatial resolution ranging from a few tens of kilometers (several miles) to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) per pixel.
The visual and infrared mapping spectrometer instrument took images from visible wavelengths to the 5.1 micron wavelength. This figure shows the mosaic obtained at the 2.03 micron wavelength. Observations are centered on the hemisphere of Titan that points away from Saturn.
The left (inset) high-resolution image is 30 kilometers (19 miles) per pixel. It shows the site where the European Space Agency's Huygens probe successfully landed on Jan. 14, 2005. The right inset shows a circular feature that scientists think is a volcano, which may be responsible for replenishing Titan's methane atmosphere.
Titan¿s diameter is 5,151 kilometers (3,200 miles), which is larger than Jupiter's moon Callisto and smaller than another Jovian moon, Ganymede. Callisto has a diameter of 4,806 kilometers (2,986 miles) and Ganymede is 5,268 kilometers (3,273 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 and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team is based at the University of Arizona.
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona