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Conference Papers Year : 2015

Cassini RADAR Observations of Saturn's Largest Moon, Titan


The Cassini RADAR is a versatile instrument capable of operating in imaging, altimetry, scatterometry, radiometry, and, most recently, sounding modes. Despite vastly different material properties and environmental conditions, Titan’s methane-based hydrologic system drives climatic and geologic processes that result in morphologic features with striking similarity to terrestrial counterparts, including vast equatorial dune fields, well-organized channel networks that route material through erosional and depositional landscapes defining source-to-sink sediment transport systems, and, perhaps most astonishingly, lakes and seas filled with liquid hydrocarbons. Using its various operating modes, the Cassini RADAR has provided a wealth of information regarding Titan’s active surface-atmosphere system. In Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mode, the RADAR has unveiled Titan’s surface by producing backscatter maps with pixel scales of ~300 m. In altimetry mode, the RADAR has shown the elevation profile of surface features, including the liquid elevation of Titan’s lakes and seas, revealed the roughness characteristics of the surface, and constrained the global shape. Most recently, the altimetry mode has doubled as a radar sounder that has successfully probed the depth and absorptivity of the lakes and seas. Data from the scatterometry and radiometry modes have been used to constrain material properties, including dielectric constants and volume scattering fractions, surface texture, and derive seasonal and diurnal temperature variations. Collectively, these datasets have revealed Titan’s strange yet familiar nature, and demonstrated that it is one of the most compelling targets in our solar system. During our presentation, we will summarize these capabilities and review some of the most specular discoveries made by the Cassini RADAR.
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insu-01249177 , version 1 (30-12-2015)


  • HAL Id : insu-01249177 , version 1


Alexander Hayes, Marco Mastrogiuseppe, Jonathan Lunine, Ralph Lorenz, Stephen Wall, et al.. Cassini RADAR Observations of Saturn's Largest Moon, Titan. AGU Fall Meeting 2015, Dec 2015, San Francisco, United States. pp.P53G-08. ⟨insu-01249177⟩
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