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Getting Closer to Titan
06.25.04
 
Irregular bright and dark regions of yet unidentified composition and character are becoming increasingly visible on Titan's surface as Cassini approaches its scheduled first flyby of Saturn's largest moon on July 2, 2004.

The Cassini spacecraft has beamed back a new, more detailed image of smog-enshrouded Titan
Image above: The Cassini spacecraft has beamed back a new, more detailed image of smog-enshrouded Titan. + Click for full image and caption. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

This view represents an improvement in resolution of nearly three times over the previous Cassini images of Titan. Titan's surface is difficult to study, veiled by a dense hydrocarbon haze that forms in the high stratosphere as methane is destroyed by sunlight. This image is different from previous Titan images by Cassini because it was taken through a special filter, called a polarizer, which is designed to see through the atmosphere to the surface.

Cassini will conduct a critical 96-minute burn before going into orbit around Saturn on June 30 (July 1 Universal Time), with its first scheduled flyby of Titan on July 2.

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 Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov and the Cassini imaging team home page, http://ciclops.org.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
 
 
Carolina Martinez (818) 354-9382
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Heidi Finn (720) 974-5859
Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations
Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

2004-162