This map of Titan's surface, generated from images taken during Cassini's approach to Saturn, illustrates the imaging coverage planned during Cassini's first very close Titan flyby on Oct. 26, 2004.
Colored lines enclose regions that will be covered at different imaging scales as Cassini approaches Titan. Based on previous observations, it is anticipated that the size of the smallest visible surface features will be approximately five times larger than the image scale. Thus, the smallest visible features within the region bounded by the red curve should be about 1 to 1.2 kilometers (0.6 to 0.9 mile) across. The yellow X marks the predicted landing site for the Huygens probe, the target of the camera's highest-resolution mosaic. Images of this site taken near closest approach may have higher resolution than indicated here. Features a few hundred meters or yards across may be discernible, depending on the effect that relative motion between the spacecraft and Titan has on the quality of the images.
The images used to create the map were acquired between April and June 2004 using a narrow, 938-nanometer filter that sees through Titan's atmospheric haze to the surface. These images have been processed to enhance surface details. Scales range from 88 to 35 kilometers (55 to 22 miles) per pixel. It's currently winter in Titan's northern hemisphere, so high northern latitudes are not illuminated, resulting in the map's upper limit at roughly 45 degrees north latitude
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 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 .
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute