This radar image of the surface of Saturn's moon Titan was acquired on October 26, 2004, when the Cassini spacecraft flew approximately 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) above the surface and acquired radar data for the first time. It reveals a complex geologic surface thought to be composed of icy materials and hydrocarbons.
A wide variety of geologic terrain types can be seen on the image; brighter areas may correspond to rougher terrains and darker areas are thought to be smoother. A large dark circular feature is seen at the western (left) end of the image, but very few features resembling fresh impact craters are seen. This suggests that the surface is relatively young. Enigmatic sinuous bright linear features are visible, mainly cutting across dark areas.
The image is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) wide and 250 kilometers (155 miles) long, and is centered at 50 N, 82 W in the northern hemisphere of Titan, over a region that has not yet been imaged optically. The smallest details seen on the image are about 300 meters (984 feet) across.
The data were acquired in the synthetic aperture radar mode of Cassini's radar instrument. In this mode, radio signals are bounced off the surface of Titan.
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 Cassini-Huygens 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 instrument team is based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.