November 10, 2014
Two Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images from the radar experiment on NASA's Cassini spacecraft show that, between May 2013 and August 2014, a bright feature appeared in Kraken Mare, the largest hydrocarbon sea on Saturn's moon Titan. Researchers think the bright feature is likely representative of something on the hydrocarbon sea's surface, such as waves or floating debris.
A similar feature appeared in Ligea Mare, another Titan sea, and was seen to evolve in appearance between 2013 and 2014 (see Mysterious Changing Feature in Ligeia Mare).
The image at left was taken on May 23, 2013 at an incidence angle of 56 degrees; the image at right was taken on Aug. 21, 2014 at an incidence angle of 5 degrees. Incidence angle refers to the angle at which the radar beam strikes the surface.
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, DC. 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.