CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Jumbled Terrain
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High-resolution images taken during Cassini's latest close encounter with Titan provide still more examples of the complicated relationships between the dark and bright materials on Titan's surface.

During the most recent two flybys of Titan, on March 31 and April 16, 2005, Cassini captured a number of images of the hemisphere of Titan that faces Saturn. The image at left is taken from a mosaic of images obtained in March (see PIA06222) and shows the location of the view at right.

The image at right, taken during the most recent Titan flyby, shows a complex pattern of small, 40 kilometer- (25 mile-) wide, dark features within a brighter area. Similar to PIA06232, several narrow, dark and curvilinear features can be seen that hint perhaps of dark channels within the bright material. Cassini's RADAR SAR experiment also observed this region in February, and the VIMS experiment observed along with the Imaging Science Subsystem cameras April. Comparisons of these data sets will be important in understanding the geologic history of this complex region.

The view at left consists of five images that have been added together and enhanced to bring out surface detail and to reduce noise, although some camera artifacts remain.

These images were taken using a filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 938 nanometers - considered to be the Imaging Science Subsystem's best spectral filter for observing the surface of Titan. This view was acquired from a distance of 36,000 kilometers (22,400 miles). The pixel scale of this image is 430 meters (0.3 miles) per pixel, although the actual resolution is likely to be several times larger.

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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: May 2, 2005 (PIA 06231)
Image/Caption Information
  Jumbled Terrain
PIA 06231

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