April 12, 2013
Three new small lakes, 100 to 300 square miles (a few hundreds of square kilometers) in surface area, have been identified on Saturn's moon Titan in data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. In the image from Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer at the bottom part of the image, Freeman, Cardiel and a lake currently designated as VIMSNN4 join the cast of small lakes already discovered by Cassini's radar. Towada (VIMSNN3) is a lake originally seen in radar data that was also seen in the VIMS data. Radar views of some of the lakes are shown as the insets.
Studies of the surface areas of these small lakes can yield big results in determining the evolution of liquid bodies on Titan, and shed light on the past and future of methane in shaping Titan's environment.
The VIMS images were taken in 2010. The radar images were taken in 2007.
Another view of these lakes is also available at Titan Lake Country.
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