Nuovo flyby di Titano. Cassini vede altri crateri...

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Cassini Flies by Titan, Sees More Craters
May 3, 2006

Saturn’s moon Titan continued to surprise scientists during a flyby
took Cassini into regions previously unexplored by radar. Two very
noticeable circular features, possible impact craters or calderas,
appear in the latest radar images taken during the flyby on April 30,

impact crater or a cryovolcanic caldera Image right: This circular
feature might be an impact crater or a cryovolcanic caldera. Image
credit: NASA/JPL

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The flyby targeted Xanadu, one of the most prominent features on Titan,
visible even from telescopes on Earth. The origin of Xanadu is still
unknown, but the radar images reveal details previously unseen, such as
numerous curvy features that may indicate fluid flows. Scientists
speculate that two prominent circular features are probably impact
craters but they don’t rule out the possibility that they might be
calderas or volcanoes. Sand dunes, discovered in previous flybys,
continue to crisscross Titan’s surface.

Communication from the spacecraft was temporarily interrupted for
five hours during the data playback following the flyby. The most
important science data from the flyby were protected by a contingency
plan put in place in advance of the flyby. The flight team believes the
outage was likely due to a galactic cosmic-ray hit on a power switch in
the spacecraft communications subsystem. The anomaly resulted in the
loss of some science data. However, the spacecraft is now performing

This was the 14th Titan flyby for Cassini, with nine more remaining
year. The next will be May 20, 2006. During the nominal four-year
mission Cassini will perform 45 Titan flybys.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the
European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of
Caltech, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL.

For images and more information, visit: and .

Media contact: Carolina Martinez/JPL (818) 354-9382

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