37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 46 Titan's Surface and Magnetic Environment
Poster, Wednesday, September 7, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Recital Room

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[46.08] Topographic Mapping of the Huygens Landing Site on Titan

R.L. Kirk, B.A. Archinal (USGS, Flagstaff), M.G. Tomasko, B. Rizk (Univ. of Arizona), L.A. Soderblom, D.A. Cook, E. Howington-Kraus, T.L. Becker, M.R. Rosiek (USGS, Flagstaff), DISR Science Team

The Huygens probe successfully accomplished the first descent and landing on Saturn’s moon Titan on 2005 January 14. The onboard Descent Imager-Spectral Radiometer (DISR) experiment1 included three imaging cameras: high resolution (HRI), medium resolution (MRI), and side looking (SLI), which returned the first ever high resolution (~ 60 m/pixel to a few mm/pixel) images of the surface of Titan. Approximately 596 separate images were returned. Many images, taken above ~40 km, showed no surface detail due to haze; others were repeated images of the same scene from the surface. Still, about 40% of the images show surface features of Titan. We are analyzing these images photogrammetrically to derive topographic information for as much of the landing area as possible, from which detailed geologic studies can proceed. As part of this process we expect to recover a history of spacecraft pointing and position, constrained in part by altimetry and Earth-based VLBI tracking, thus providing a trajectory estimate with which other (e.g. atmospheric) data can be associated. Planned products consist of a series of image mosaics, digital elevation models, and orthomosaics, at multiple resolutions and nested within each other as appropriate. The first such products will be shown; they indicate total relief of ~250 m in the higher albedo "highlands" near the landing point, with dark dendritic channels confined to the floors of canyons with side slopes up to 30 deg, indicating extremely active erosion. Later efforts will also concentrate on analyzing and merging the imaging and topographic information of these images with that of the Cassini RADAR, ISS, and VIMS imaging experiments, to develop a consistent global (horizontal and vertical) reference system for Titan to which these and future data sets can be referred.

Reference: [1] M. Tomasko et al. Spc. Sci. Rev. 104, 469-551 (2002).

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