Video Transcript: News From Saturn
Hello and welcome to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. I’m Jan Berkeley, one of the Sequence Team Lead engineers on Cassini here to share the latest news from Saturn.
In our most exciting news, instruments on the spacecraft have found evidence of seas in the high northern latitudes of Titan. Here is a movie that shows the area dotted with seas hundreds of miles across, and many smaller lakes that vary from several miles to tens of miles wide.
Cassini's last flyby of Titan was on March 10, 2007, at an altitude of 600 miles. There were several objectives to this flyby. Higher resolution images of the area where seas were found were successful. This area is just north of the equator and west of the bright area known as Xanadu, also seen by both the radar and imaging instruments in previous flybys.
In addition, Titan weather studies were conducted: mapping temperatures to determine seasonal changes, monitoring cloud motion and wind speeds. Scientists are still processing this data, so stay tuned.
We will return to Titan on March 26, this time at an altitude of 620 miles. This time, the flyby will include more temperature mapping, global mapping, and spectral imaging in the ultraviolet and infrared regions. The area of seas and lakes will be mapped yet again, but at a lower resolution.
The spacecraft will also pass behind Titan for approximately 35 minutes this is called an occultation. Telemetry data cannot be received from the spacecraft at that time, but information can still be transmitted. A unique experiment will take place where the spacecraft will be oriented precisely to send a signal to bounce off the atmosphere of Titan and be received at Earth. The state of the signal tells us information about the surface region targeted. This is the third time the experiment will be attempted by Cassini.
From Pasadena, California, this is Jan Berkeley with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and your latest news from the ringed planet.