April 12, 2013
These images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft show one of the large seas and a bounty of smaller lakes on Saturn's moon Titan. Scientists saw these small lakes in data obtained by both Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (left) and radar instrument (right).
Ligeia Mare, about 50,000 square miles (125,000 square kilometers) in area, is the large lake near the bottom of both images. Three new lakes of about 100 to 300 square miles (a few hundreds of square kilometers) identified first in the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer images are labeled in the annotated version as Freeman (VimsNN1), Cardiel (VimsNN2) and VimsNN4. The new lakes can be seen at the top left and middle right. The small lake Towada first seen in radar images was also seen in this VIMS investigation (VimsNN3) and can be seen in the middle right.
The images that went into the VIMS mosaic were taken in June 2010. The images that make up the radar mosaic were taken in April 2007. The small lakes remained relatively consistent between 2007 and 2010.
Another view of these lakes is also available at A Sprinkling of Little Lakes .
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 visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team is based at the University of Arizona, Tucson. The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian Space Agency, working with team members from the United States and several European countries.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona