First Global Map of Titan

The first global geologic map of Titan is based on radar and visible-light images from NASA’s Cassini mission, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017. Labels point to several of the named surface features. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

The first global map of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, has been completed using radar and infrared data from the Cassini orbiter spacecraft. The map of Titan, by R. Lopes (JPL) and colleagues, shows its surface geology, with dune fields, lakes, plains, impact craters, and hummocky mountain belts, among other features. The results show that Titan is a geologically active world, dominated by sedimentary (erosion and deposition) processes, where hydrocarbon liquid (composed of methane and ethane) take the role that water has on Earth. Titan’s surface geology varies strongly with latitude: dune fields near the equator, plains at mid-latitudes, and labyrinth terrains and lakes near the poles. This research was published in the journal Nature Astronomy (November 18, 2019). READ MORE