Monday, May 02, 2005

More New DISR Mosaics

The DISR team has released three additional mosaics showing the ground track of the Huygens spacecraft over the surface of Titan three months ago.
  • The first mosaic shows the landing site region from an altitude of 15 km, with the ground track of the probe from 49 km downward. The coverage shown in this mosaic is similar to that of the mosaic produced by Rene Pascal. Personally, I prefer his mosaic since it is not nearly as smoothed out. Yes, you still see some of the noise in his mosaic and it has not been as geometrically controlled as the DISR team's mosaic, but maintaining the fidelity of the constituent images does have its uses.
  • The second mosaic, shown above, simulates the view from 4 km, with the ground track drawn in. This view shows the features on the nearby bright island as well as the bright, wispy features in the dark material. I am still puzzled by these wispy features.
  • The third mosaic shows the landing site region from an altitude of 500 meters, with the ground track of the probe drawn in. The ground track at this scale is quite intriguing. Previously, it had been mentioned that the probe appeared to turn north in the last few kilometers, but based on an early animation of this motion, I had thought the probe turned back to the way it came. This graphic demostrates that. The probe started to slow down its forward motion at around 12-13 km, then started to turn around at 7-8 km in altitude. It then headed in the direction from whence it came, and landed very close to where it was overhead at 13 km. This mosaic is on a slightly higher scale from one of the mosaics released yesterday, showing gully-like features around small outcrops within the dark terrain.
The grey circles in the first and second mosaics show the outlines of the next mosaic.


Blogger Bruce Moomaw said...

Is it possible that the "wispy features" are just the exposed ice-covered tops of a series of parallel tectonic ridges running through the playa, with the valleys between them completely filled in with dark sediment? They do seem to be roughly parallel to each other -- although they are also at right angles to the other parallel ridges and troughes to their west (with two and maybe three dark runoff channels which are exttremely straight running through the latter).

5/02/2005 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Yeah, I think they are just eroded island that are now nothing more than patches of bright rocky material surrounded by dark material. Tectonism certainly makes sense given the shape of many of the features, including UPI's "Great Wall".

5/03/2005 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Moomaw said...

Of course, that still leaves us with the question of why they're oriented at a right angle to the ridges in the surrounding hills. It's certainly clear that some very odd surface processes are going on at Titan that we do not yet understand worth a damn.

5/03/2005 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Why are the images of such low quality? In general for the Titan landing, all the images are almost impossible to see.

7/15/2005 03:04:00 PM  

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