NASA’s Cassini Visits Titan, Gathering Data on Lakes
Michael Hatamoto / 6 years ago
The NASA Cassini spacecraft flew by the Saturn’s moon of Titan recently, as researchers want to gain more knowledge about the intriguing smoggy moon.
During the mission, scientists bounced a radio signal from Titan’s surface to Earth, more than 1 billion miles away, using Saturn’s moon as a mirror. The data wasn’t analyzed in real-time, but the radio signal is clear enough for researchers to collect information to work with.
It has been difficult for NASA to determine where to look on the moon, then properly engineer flight patterns and approach patterns for successful maneuvers.
Here is what Essam Marouf, Cassini radio science team member from San Jose State University said in a press statement:
“We held our breath as Cassini turned to beam its radio signals at the lakes. We knew we were getting good quality data when we saw clear echoes from Titan’s surface. It was thrilling.”
Space scientists have been interested in Titan’s surface, trying to determine if it is solid, liquid, or slushy. What the surface is potentially made of, and whether it is reflective. There are still a lot of questions left unanswered, but NASA has an important piece to the puzzle, and research will continue in the future.
Thank you to NASA for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of NASA