February 26, 2009
Scientists have used data from the Cassini radar mapper to map the global wind pattern on Saturn's moon Titan using data collected over a four-year period, as depicted in this image.
The arrows indicate the direction in which sand is inferred to be transported along dunes observed in Titan radar data. Underlying the arrows is a base map (see Map of Titan - October 2007) from Cassini's imaging science subsystem. Many of the equatorial dark areas without arrows might have dunes but have not yet been imaged with radar. The dune orientations represent only the net effect of winds. It could be that sand transport only occurs on rare occasions, and winds from different directions can combine to yield the observed dune orientations.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's 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. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute