This mosaic of 28 images shows the regional coverage taken during Cassini's first encounter with Titan on Oct. 26, 2004.
Cutting through the middle of the image is a sharp boundary between the bright region known as Xanadu Regio on the right and dark terrain to the left. Several smaller bright features, between 30 and 200 kilometers (20 to 125 miles) across are seen within the dark terrain. These intriguing features are a focus of further research and observations for Cassini scientists. One clue to their origin and history is the presence of bright "trails" within the dark material on the eastern sides of the bright spots.
A mottled texture is seen within Xanadu, including dark, crisscrossing lines, suggestive of tectonic activity. No definitive craters have been found in these images, though several bright rings or circular features are seen in the dark terrain. However, without topographic shading, their identification as impact structures can not be confirmed.
The images in this mosaic have been processed to enhance surface features and sharpen boundaries. All images were taken at a special filter centered in the near-infrared at 938 nanometers that provides the camera's best view of surface features.
The images making up this mosaic were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera at distances ranging from 100,400 to 71,000 kilometers (62,400 to 44,100 miles) and have pixel scales ranging from 1.2 to 0.8 kilometers (0.75 to 0.5miles). This mosaic is scaled to 800 meters (2,625 feet) per pixel and is centered at 20 degrees south latitude, 157.5 degrees west longitude on Titan. Black areas on this mosaic represent areas where images were not taken during this sequence or were not returned from Cassini.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.