Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Huygens Team Releases First Enhanced Mosaics Of Titan

17.05.2005


Scientists on Huygens’ Descent Imager Spectral Radiometer (DISR) experiment have generated new views of Saturn’s giant moon, Titan.

The European Space Agency’s Huygens probe descended onto Titan on January 14, 2005. The University of Arizona-led DISR team released mosaics made from raw, unprocessed images days after Huygens landed, but they continue processing the data.

The team now has produced the first enhanced mosaic images. They used special image projection techniques in combining a series of images taken as Huygens rotated on its axis 20 kilometers, or 12.4 miles, above Titan’s surface. The images are online at the DISR website, http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~kholso/ and the European Space Agency website, http://www.esa.int/esaCP/index.html



DISR took a series of photographs of the moon’s surface in sets of three, or triplets, as Huygens descended through Titan’s atmosphere. The images partially overlap because the probe rotated during the descent and because the fields-of-view of different cameras overlapped. Scientists used physical features seen in more than one image to piece mosaics together like jigsaw puzzles.

The new mosaics are stereographic and gnomonic (pronounced ’no-mahn-ic’) projections. These are different ways of showing Titan’s three-dimensional surface in two dimensions.

Stereo projection squeezes the entire visible surface into one image, so it shows size, area, distance and perspective of landscape features, said Mike Bushroe of the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, DISR senior staff engineer. Gnomonic projection is the kind found in maps that navigators and aviators use to determine the shortest distance between two points. Gnomonic projection makes the surface appear flat and distorts scale at the map or mosaic outer edges.

In the new stereographic ’fish-eye’ view of Titan’s surface, the bright area to the north (top of image) and west is higher than the rest of the terrain. The bright area is laced with dark lines believed to be drainage channels leading down to what appears to be a shoreline with river deltas and sand bars.

Scientists think the channels are cut by flowing liquid methane. Precipitation run off carved the dense network of narrow channels and features with sharp branching angles, researchers theorize. Sapping or sub-surface flows may have created the short, stubby channels that join at 90-degree angles, they add.

The largest run off channel starts at about the 12 o’clock position from an inlet on the shoreline and stretches to the left. The largest sapping channel starts at the 9 o’clock position and continues in a straight line up and left. The dark wide corridor to the west just below the sapping channel is believed to be a major flow channel that empties into the mud flats of the lakebed.

The bright shapes to the northeast and east look to be ridges of ice gravel that are slightly higher than the flats around them. The probe is thought to have landed just southwest of the semi-circular shape. Researchers can’t yet explain the light and dark areas to the south.

The gnomonic projection was made from images taken as the probe approached the landing site, and as surface features sharpened. North is at the top of the image. What appears to be a ridge of ice boulders thrusting up through darker lakebed material runs between lower left and upper right in this mosaic.

The ice boulders are thought to slow the major flow from the west, causing the fluid to pond on the northwest side of the image and layering the dark material into sediment. Seeps between the boulders cut the sediment into channels as the fluid flows southeast.

University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory scientist Martin Tomasko leads the DISR team. Team members are based throughout the United States and Europe, with the largest contributing groups from the UA in the United States, from the Max Planck Institute in Germany, and the Paris Observatory in Meudon, France.

The Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan is a joint mission of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). ESA supplied and manages the Huygens probe that descended to Titan’s surface Jan. 14, 2005. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. NASA funded the Descent Imager-Spectral Radiometer, which was built by Lockheed Martin.

Mike Bushroe | University of Arizona
Further information:
http://www.lpl.arizona.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays
18.08.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>