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  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 03 August 2006

Abstract

Cassini's Titan Radar Mapper imaged the surface of Saturn's moon Titan on its February 2005 fly-by (denoted T3), collecting high-resolution synthetic-aperture radar and larger-scale radiometry and scatterometry data. These data provide the first definitive identification of impact craters on the surface of Titan, networks of fluvial channels and surficial dark streaks that may be longitudinal dunes. Here we describe this great diversity of landforms. We conclude that much of the surface thus far imaged by radar of the haze-shrouded Titan is very young, with persistent geologic activity.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge those who designed, developed, and operate the Cassini/Huygens mission. Cassini is a joint endeavour of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. Author Contributions C.E. is the RADAR Team Leader. All authors contributed equally to this work.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, 91109, USA

    • C. Elachi
    • , S. Wall
    • , M. Janssen
    • , R. Lopes
    • , F. Paganelli
    • , Y. Anderson
    • , S. Ostro
    • , R. Boehmer
    • , P. Callahan
    • , Y. Gim
    • , G. Hamilton
    • , S. Hensley
    • , W. Johnson
    • , K. Kelleher
    • , L. Roth
    • , S. Shaffer
    • , B. Stiles
    •  & R. West
  2. Proxemy Research, Bowie, Maryland, 20715, USA

    • E. Stofan
  3. US Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Arizona, 86001, USA

    • R. Kirk
    •  & L. Soderblom
  4. Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721, USA

    • R. Lorenz
    •  & J. Lunine
  5. IFSI-INAF, Rome, Via del Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133, Italy

    • J. Lunine
  6. Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona, 85719, USA

    • C. Wood
  7. Stanford University, Stanford, California, 94305, USA

    • L. Wye
    •  & H. Zebker
  8. Goddard Institute for Space Studies, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, New York, New York, 10025, USA

    • M. Allison
  9. Observatoire de Paris, France, 92195, Meudon

    • P. Encrenaz
  10. Alenia Aerospazio, Rome, 00131, Italy

    • E. Flamini
  11. Facoltá di Ingegneria, Naples, 80125, Italy

    • G. Francescetti
    •  & S. Vetrella
  12. Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, 91125, USA

    • D. Muhleman
  13. Universitá La Sapienza, Rome, 00184, Italy

    • G. Picardi
    •  & R. Seu
  14. INFM and Dipartimento Interateneo di Fisica, Politecnico di Bari, Bari, 70126, Italy

    • F. Posa

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Competing interests

Reprints and permissions information is available at npg.nature.com/reprintsandpermissions. The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to S. Wall.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Image

    This file contains the Cassini Radar SAR T3 swath, acquired during the February 15, 2005 Cassini flyby. Each pixel represents 600 x 600 m of the surface. The image is centered at 21 degrees N Latitude by 69 degrees W Longitude. Pixel brightness is not directly convertible to surface radar cross section due to JPEG compression. The map projection is an oblique cylindrical projection with the equator of the projection along Cassini's ground track and the prime meridian passing through the point of closest approach. The long dimension of the image is roughly East-West with both ends of the swath bowing down toward Titan's equator. (JPG 4259 kb)

    Because of the nature of this projection and the quantization of the data, we do not recommend use of these data for quantitative analysis, whether in terms of brightness, distance or pixel location. For such uses please use the full-resolution data from the NASA Planetary Data System at http://starbrite.jpl.nasa.gov/pds/index.jsp.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04786

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