Feeds

Cassini glimpses Titan's face

First surface features emerge

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

The first pictures from Cassini's fly-by of Titan have been beamed back to Earth. The pictures reveal glimpses of surface features, with some clearly delineated dark and light areas tantalising the earth-bound scientists.

Picture from Cassini's titanic fly-by

According to Associated Press reports, NASA's imaging team leader, Carolyn Porco, described the pictures as "tantalising" for those studying the moon. Although nothing is certain yet, she speculated that the bright areas could be icy regions, rising out of a slushy area, "or maybe that's lava that's flowed and covered up some of the terrain and is forming the sharp shoreline-looking boundary".

The craft reached its closest approach to the cloudy moon at 17:44 BST yesterday and its data was received by NASA's deep-space network antenna in Madrid, nearly nine hours later.

These pictures were taken when Cassini was still more than 50,000 miles from Titan. It snapped the moon with its narrow field camera through an infra-red-sensitive filter, centered at 938 nanometers.

The surface emerges

This fly-by has not only provided scientists with their best ever views of the moon, but has changed Cassini's orbit of Saturn, shortening its period from four months to 48 days. The craft will make its next close approach to the moon on 13 December, and will release the European-built Huygens probe on Christmas day. ®

Related link

Images from the Cassini mission are posted here at the Ciclops (Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory fro Operations) website.

Related stories

Cassini gives Iapetus a wide berth
Cassini approaches Titanic flyby
Cassini finds two tiny Saturnian moons
Cassini eyeballs Saturnian lightning storms
Cassini runs rings round Saturn

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.