Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: NASA's Cassini-Huygens flyby mission has been in the news for quite some time. Just days after unveiling new images of the plumes of Enceladus, the team has published an image of Saturn’s moon Titan with its dunes.
On Monday, NASA shared a new Cassini image showcasing the dunelands of Titan, the largest of Saturn's moons.
According to NASA, Saturn's frigid moon Titan has some characteristics that are oddly similar to Earth, but still slightly alien. It has clouds, rain and lakes (made of methane and ethane), a solid surface (made of water ice), and vast dune fields (filled with hydrocarbon sands).
Through the haze of Titan's atmosphere, the image reveals two vast regions of dunes, Fensal to the north and Aztlan to the south.
Titan's dunes are made of hydrocarbon sands. A patch of vertically oriented dunes connects the two regions, forming an dark H-like shape on the moon's otherwise white icy surface.
According to UPI, unlike Earth, Titan barely receives any sun. Yet, its atmosphere, comprised mostly of methane, is twice as thick as Earth's. Methane's greenhouse gas effect keeps Titan warmer than it would otherwise be, that is, a balmy negative 179 degrees Celsius.
NASA has furthermore said that Titan's image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 25, 2015 using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 938 nanometers.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 450,000 miles (730,000 kilometers) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 32 degrees. Image scale is 3 miles (4 kilometers) per pixel.