This map of Titan's surface, generated from images taken during Cassini's approach to Saturn, illustrates the imaging coverage planned during Cassini's first very close Titan flyby on 26 October 2004.
Colored lines enclose regions that will be covered at different imaging scales as Cassini approaches Titan. Based on previous observations, it is anticipated that the size of the smallest visible surface features will be approximately five times larger than the image scale. Thus, the smallest visible features within the region bounded by the red curve should be ~ 1 to 1.2 km across. The yellow X marks the predicted landing site for the Huygens probe, the target of the camera's highest-resolution mosaic. Images of this site that will be taken near closest approach may have higher resolution than indicated here. Features a few hundred meters across may be discernible, depending on the effect the relative motion between the Titan surface and the spacecraft has on the quality of the images.
The images used to create the map were acquired between April and June 2004 using a narrow, 938-nm filter that sees through Titan's atmospheric haze to the surface. These images have been processed to enhance surface details and their scales range from 88 to 35 km/pixel. It's currently winter in Titan's northern hemisphere, so high northern latitudes are not illuminated, resulting in the map's upper limit at roughly 45 degrees North latitude.
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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.