This radar image of Titan's well-known dunes is distinctive because it may show an age relationship between different classes of features on the surface of this frigid world.
Taken by Cassini's radar mapper on Jan. 13, 2007, during a flyby of Titan, three kinds of terrain can be seen. Throughout the image, the fine striping has been identified as dunes, possibly made from organic material and formed by wind activity. Dunes are a common landform on Titan (see Two Sides of Dunes and Swimming in Dunes). The bright material at the lower right of the image is interpreted as being topographically higher than the dunes that go around it, and several circular features seen at the top center may be craters that are slowly being buried by the dunes. Since the dunes seem to lie over the craters, the dune activity probably occurred later in time.
This image was taken in synthetic aperture mode and has a resolution of approximately 350 meters (1,150 feet). North is toward the top left corner of the image, which is approximately 160 kilometers (100 miles) long by 150 kilometers (90 miles) wide.
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 mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian Space Agency, working with team members from the United States and several European countries.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm.