Jingpo Lacus is a lake in the north polar region of Titan, the planet Saturn's largest moon. It and sized Ontario Lacus are the largest known bodies of liquid on Titan after the three maria, it is composed of liquid hydrocarbons. It is west of Kraken Mare at 73° N, 336° W 240 km long, similar to the length of Lake Onega on Earth, its namesake is a scenic lake in China. On 8 July 2009, Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer observed a specular reflection in 5 µm infrared light off Jingpo Lacus at 71° N, 337° W. Specular reflections indicate a smooth mirror-like surface, so the observation corroborated the inference of the presence of a large liquid body drawn from radar imaging; the observation was made soon. Map of the liquid bodies in the north polar region of Titan
Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and the second-largest natural satellite in the Solar System. It is the only moon known to have a dense atmosphere, the only object in space, other than Earth, where clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found. Titan is the sixth gravitationally rounded moon from Saturn. Described as a planet-like moon, Titan is 50% larger than Earth's moon and 80% more massive, it is the second-largest moon in the Solar System after Jupiter's moon Ganymede, is larger than the planet Mercury, but only 40% as massive. Discovered in 1655 by the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens, Titan was the first known moon of Saturn, the sixth known planetary satellite. Titan orbits Saturn at 20 Saturn radii. From Titan's surface, Saturn subtends an arc of 5.09 degrees and would appear 11.4 times larger in the sky than the Moon from Earth. Titan is composed of ice and rocky material. Much as with Venus before the Space Age, the dense opaque atmosphere prevented understanding of Titan's surface until the Cassini–Huygens mission in 2004 provided new information, including the discovery of liquid hydrocarbon lakes in Titan's polar regions.
The geologically young surface is smooth, with few impact craters, although mountains and several possible cryovolcanoes have been found. The atmosphere of Titan is nitrogen; the climate—including wind and rain—creates surface features similar to those of Earth, such as dunes, lakes and deltas, is dominated by seasonal weather patterns as on Earth. With its liquids and robust nitrogen atmosphere, Titan's methane cycle is analogous to Earth's water cycle, at the much lower temperature of about 94 K. Titan was discovered on March 25, 1655, by the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens. Huygens was inspired by Galileo's discovery of Jupiter's four largest moons in 1610 and his improvements in telescope technology. Christiaan, with the help of his older brother Constantijn Huygens, Jr. began building telescopes around 1650 and discovered the first observed moon orbiting Saturn with one of the telescopes they built. It was the sixth moon discovered, after Earth's Moon and the Galilean moons of Jupiter.
Huygens named his discovery Saturni Luna, publishing in the 1655 tract De Saturni Luna Observatio Nova. After Giovanni Domenico Cassini published his discoveries of four more moons of Saturn between 1673 and 1686, astronomers fell into the habit of referring to these and Titan as Saturn I through V. Other early epithets for Titan include "Saturn's ordinary satellite". Titan is numbered Saturn VI because after the 1789 discoveries the numbering scheme was frozen to avoid causing any more confusion. Numerous small moons have been discovered closer to Saturn since then; the name Titan, the names of all seven satellites of Saturn known, came from John Herschel, in his 1847 publication Results of Astronomical Observations Made during the Years 1834, 5, 6, 7, 8, at the Cape of Good Hope. He suggested the names of the mythological Titans and sisters of Cronus, the Greek Saturn. In Greek mythology, the Titans were a race of powerful deities, descendants of Gaia and Uranus, that ruled during the legendary Golden Age.
Titan orbits Saturn once 22 hours. Like the Moon and many of the satellites of the giant planets, its rotational period is identical to its orbital period; because of this, there is a sub-Saturnian point on its surface, from which the planet would always appear to hang directly overhead. Longitudes on Titan are measured westward, starting from the meridian passing through this point, its orbital eccentricity is 0.0288, the orbital plane is inclined 0.348 degrees relative to the Saturnian equator. Viewed from Earth, Titan reaches an angular distance of about 20 Saturn radii from Saturn and subtends a disk 0.8 arcseconds in diameter. The small, irregularly shaped satellite Hyperion is locked in a 3:4 orbital resonance with Titan. A "slow and smooth" evolution of the resonance—in which Hyperion migrated from a chaotic orbit—is considered unlikely, based on models. Hyperion formed in a stable orbital island, whereas the massive Titan absorbed or ejected bodies that made close approaches. Titan is 5,149.46 kilometers in diameter, 1.06 times that of the planet Mercury, 1.48 that of the Moon, 0.40 that of Earth.
Before the arrival of Voyager 1 in 1980, Titan was thought to be larger than Ganymede and thus the largest moon in the Solar System. Titan's diameter and mass are similar to those of the Jovian moons Callisto. Based on its bulk density of 1.88 g/cm3, Titan's composition is half water ice and half rocky material. Though similar in composition to Dione and Enceladus, it is denser due to gravitational compression, it has a mass 1/4226 that of Saturn, making it the largest moon of the gas giants relative to the ma
Adiri is a large, bright albedo feature on Saturn's moon Titan. It is named after the paradise in Melanesian mythology, it is located to the west of the dark region of Shangri-la. Adiri appears to be riddled with drainage channels; the Huygens probe landed on a plain just off the northwest'coast' of Adiri in 2005
Punga Mare is a lake in the north polar region of Titan, the planet Saturn's largest moon. After Kraken Mare and Ligeia Mare, it is the third largest known body of liquid on Titan, it is composed of liquid hydrocarbons. Located adjacent to the north pole at 85.1° N, 339.7° W, it measures 380 km across, greater than the length of Lake Victoria on Earth. Its namesake is Punga, in Māori mythology ancestor of sharks and lizards and a son of Tangaroa, the god of the sea. Labelled map of the liquid bodies in the north polar region of Titan
The Cassini–Huygens mission called Cassini, was a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency to send a probe to study the planet Saturn and its system, including its rings and natural satellites. The Flagship-class robotic spacecraft comprised both NASA's Cassini probe, ESA's Huygens lander which landed on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Cassini was the fourth space probe to visit the first to enter its orbit; the craft were named after astronomers Giovanni Christiaan Huygens. Launched aboard a Titan IVB/Centaur on October 15, 1997, Cassini was active in space for nearly 20 years, with 13 years spent orbiting Saturn, studying the planet and its system after entering orbit on July 1, 2004; the voyage to Saturn included flybys of Venus, the asteroid 2685 Masursky, Jupiter. Its mission ended on September 15, 2017, when Cassini's trajectory took it into Saturn's upper atmosphere and it burned up in order to prevent any risk of contaminating Saturn's moons, which might have offered habitable environments to stowaway terrestrial microbes on the spacecraft.
The mission is perceived to have been successful beyond expectation. Cassini-Huygens has been described by NASA's Planetary Science Division Director as a "mission of firsts", that has revolutionized human understanding of the Saturn system, including its moons and rings, our understanding of where life might be found in the Solar System. Cassini's original mission was planned to last for four years, from June 2004 to May 2008; the mission was extended for another two years until September 2010, branded the Cassini Equinox Mission. The mission was extended a second and final time with the Cassini Solstice Mission, lasting another seven years until September 15, 2017, on which date Cassini was de-orbited to burn up in Saturn's upper atmosphere; the Huygens module traveled with Cassini until its separation from the probe on December 25, 2004. It returned data to Earth for around 90 minutes; this was the first landing accomplished in the outer Solar System and the first landing on a moon other than Earth's Moon.
At the end of its mission, the Cassini spacecraft executed the "Grand Finale" of its mission: a number of risky passes through the gaps between Saturn and Saturn's inner rings. The purpose of this phase was to maximize Cassini's scientific outcome before the spacecraft was disposed; the atmospheric entry of Cassini ended the mission, but analyses of the returned data will continue for many years. Teams from 28 countries made up the joint team responsible for designing, building and collecting data from the Cassini orbiter and Huygens probe; the mission was managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the United States, where the orbiter was assembled. Huygens was developed by the European Space Technology Centre; the Centre's prime contractor, Aérospatiale of France, assembled the probe with equipment and instruments supplied by many European countries. The Italian Space Agency provided the Cassini orbiter's high-gain radio antenna, with the incorporation of a low-gain antenna, a compact and lightweight radar, which uses the high-gain antenna and serves as a synthetic-aperture radar, a radar altimeter, a radiometer, the radio science subsystem, the visible channel portion VIMS-V of VIMS spectrometer.
The VIMS infrared counterpart was provided by NASA, as well as Main Electronic Assembly, which includes electronic subassemblies provided by CNES of France. On April 16, 2008, NASA announced a two-year extension of the funding for ground operations of this mission, at which point it was renamed the Cassini Equinox Mission; the round of funding was again extended in February 2010 with the Cassini Solstice Mission. The mission consisted of two main elements: the ASI/NASA Cassini orbiter, named for the Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, discoverer of Saturn's ring divisions and four of its satellites; the mission was called Saturn Orbiter Titan Probe during gestation, both as a Mariner Mark II mission and generically. Cassini-Huygens was a Flagship-class mission to the outer planets; the other planetary flagships include Galileo and Viking. Cassini had several objectives, including: Determining the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the rings of Saturn. Determining the composition of the satellite surfaces and the geological history of each object.
Determining the nature and origin of the dark material on Iapetus's leading hemisphere. Measuring the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the magnetosphere. Studying the dynamic behavior of Saturn's atmosphere at cloud level. Studying the time variability of Titan's clouds and hazes. Characterizing Titan's surface on a regional scale. Cassini–Huygens was launched on October 15, 1997, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40 using a U. S. Air Force Titan IVB/Centaur rocket; the complete launcher was made up of a two-stage Titan IV booster rocket, two strap-on solid rocket engines, the Centaur upper stage, a payload enclosure, or fairing. The total cost of this scientific exploration mission was about US$3.26 billion, including $1.4 billion for pre-launch development, $704 million for mission operations, $54 million for tracking and $422 million for the launch vehicle. The United
Voyager 1 is a space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977. Part of the Voyager program to study the outer Solar System, Voyager 1 was launched 16 days after its twin, Voyager 2. Having operated for 41 years, 7 months and 7 days as of April 12, 2019, the spacecraft still communicates with the Deep Space Network to receive routine commands and to transmit data to Earth. At a distance of 145 AU from Earth as of February 22, 2019, it is the most distant from Earth of all known human-made objects; the probe's objectives included flybys of Jupiter and Saturn's largest moon, Titan. While the spacecraft's course could have been altered to include a Pluto encounter by forgoing the Titan flyby, exploration of the moon, known to have a substantial atmosphere, took priority. Voyager 1 studied the weather, magnetic fields, rings of the two planets and was the first probe to provide detailed images of their moons. After completing its primary mission with the flyby of Saturn on November 12, 1980, Voyager 1 became the third of five artificial objects to achieve the escape velocity required to leave the Solar System.
On August 25, 2012, Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to cross the heliopause and enter the interstellar medium. In a further testament to the robustness of Voyager 1, the Voyager team completed a successful test of the spacecraft's trajectory correction maneuver thrusters in late 2017, a project enabling the mission to be extended by two to three years. Voyager 1's extended mission is expected to continue until about 2025 when its radioisotope thermoelectric generators will no longer supply enough electric power to operate its scientific instruments. In the 1960s, a Grand Tour to study the outer planets was proposed which prompted NASA to begin work on a mission in the early 1970s. Information gathered by the Pioneer 10 spacecraft helped Voyager's engineers design Voyager to cope more with the intense radiation environment around Jupiter. Voyager 1 was planned as "Mariner 11" of the Mariner program. Due to budget cuts, the mission was scaled back to be a flyby of Jupiter and Saturn and renamed the Mariner Jupiter-Saturn probes.
As the program progressed, the name was changed to Voyager, since the probe designs began to differ from previous Mariner missions. Voyager 1 was constructed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it has 16 hydrazine thrusters, three-axis stabilization gyroscopes, referencing instruments to keep the probe's radio antenna pointed toward Earth. Collectively, these instruments are part of the Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem, along with redundant units of most instruments and 8 backup thrusters; the spacecraft included 11 scientific instruments to study celestial objects such as planets as it travels through space. The radio communication system of Voyager 1 was designed to be used up to and beyond the limits of the Solar System; the communication system includes a 3.7-meter diameter high gain Cassegrain antenna to send and receive radio waves via the three Deep Space Network stations on the Earth. The craft transmits data to Earth over Deep Space Network Channel 18, using a frequency of either 2.3 GHz or 8.4 GHz, while signals from Earth to Voyager are transmitted at 2.1 GHz.
When Voyager 1 is unable to communicate directly with the Earth, its digital tape recorder can record about 64 kilobytes of data for transmission at another time. Signals from Voyager 1 take over 19 hours to reach Earth. Voyager 1 has three radioisotope thermoelectric generators mounted on a boom; each MHW-RTG contains 24 pressed plutonium-238 oxide spheres. The RTGs generated about 470 W of electric power at the time of launch, with the remainder being dissipated as waste heat; the power output of the RTGs declines over time, but the craft's RTGs will continue to support some of its operations until 2025. As of April 12, 2019, Voyager 1 has 71.98 % of the plutonium-238. By 2050, it will have 56.5% left. Unlike the other onboard instruments, the operation of the cameras for visible light is not autonomous, but rather it is controlled by an imaging parameter table contained in one of the on-board digital computers, the Flight Data Subsystem. Since the 1990s, most space probes have had autonomous cameras.
The computer command subsystem controls the cameras. The CCS contains fixed computer programs, such as command decoding, fault-detection and -correction routines, antenna pointing routines, spacecraft sequencing routines; this computer is an improved version of the one, used in the 1970s Viking orbiters. The hardware in both custom-built CCS subsystems in the Voyagers is identical. There is only a minor software modification: one of them that has a scientific subsystem that the other lacks; the Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem controls the spacecraft orientation. It keeps the high-gain antenna pointing towards the Earth, controls attitude changes, points the scan platform; the custom-built AACS systems on both Voyagers are the same. For more details on the Voyager space probes' identical instrument packages, see the separate article on the overall Voyager Program; the Voyager 1 probe was launched on September 5, 1977, from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, aboard a Titan IIIE launch vehicle.
The Voyager 2 probe had been launched two weeks earlier, on August 20, 1977. Despite being launched Voyager 1 reached both Jupiter and Saturn sooner, following a shorter trajectory. Voyager 1 began photographing Jupiter in January 1979, its closest approach to Jupiter was on March 5, 1979, at a dis
The Mithrim Montes are a range of mountains on Titan, the largest moon of the planet Saturn. The range is located near Titan's equator, between 1-3° south and 126-8° west and consists of three parallel ridges that are oriented east-west, spaced about 25 km apart, they are located within the region Xanadu. The highest peak is located on the southernmost of the ridges; the Mithrim Montes are named after the Mithrim Mountains, a range in J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional world of Middle-earth; this follows a convention. The name was formally announced on November 13, 2012. List of tallest mountains in the Solar System