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Correlations between Cassini VIMS spectra and RADAR SAR images: Implications for Titan's surface composition and the character of the Huygens Probe Landing Site

Soderblom, Laurence A. and Kirk, Randolph L. and Lunine, Jonathan I. and Anderson, Jeffrey A. and Baines, Kevin H. and Barnes, Jason W. and Barrett, Janet M. and Brown, Robert H. and Buratti, Bonnie J. and Clark, Roger N. and Cruikshank, Dale P. and Elachi, Charles and Janssen, Michael A. and Jaumann, Ralf and Karkoschka, Erich and Le Mouélic, Stéphane and Lopes, Rosaly M. and Lorenz, Ralph D. and McCord, Thomas B. and Nicholson, Philip d. and Radebaugh, Jani and Rizk, Bashar and Sotin, Christophe and Stofan, Ellen R. and Sucharski, Tracie L. and Tomasko, Martin G. and Wall, Stephen D. (2007) Correlations between Cassini VIMS spectra and RADAR SAR images: Implications for Titan's surface composition and the character of the Huygens Probe Landing Site. Planetary and Space Science, 55 (13), pp. 2025-2036. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.pss.2007.04.014.

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Abstract

Titan's vast equatorial fields of RADAR-dark longitudinal dunes seen in Cassini RADAR synthetic aperture images correlate with one of two dark surface units discriminated as “brown” and “blue” in Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) color composites of short-wavelength infrared spectral cubes (RGB as 2.0, 1.6, 1.3 μm). In such composites bluer materials exhibit higher reflectance at 1.3 μm and lower at 1.6 and 2.0 μm. The dark brown unit is highly correlated with the RADAR-dark dunes. The dark brown unit shows less evidence of water ice suggesting that the saltating grains of the dunes are largely composed of hydrocarbons and/or nitriles. In general, the bright units also show less evidence of absorption due to water ice and are inferred to consist of deposits of bright fine precipitating tholin aerosol dust. Some set of chemical/mechanical processes may be converting the bright fine-grained aerosol deposits into the dark saltating hydrocarbon and/or nitrile grains. Alternatively the dark dune materials may be derived from a different type of air aerosol photochemical product than are the bright materials. In our model, both the bright aerosol and dark hydrocarbon dune deposits mantle the VIMS dark blue water ice-rich substrate. We postulate that the bright mantles are effectively invisible (transparent) in RADAR synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images leading to lack of correlation in the RADAR images with optically bright mantling units. RADAR images mostly show only dark dunes and the water ice substrate that varies in roughness, fracturing, and porosity. If the rate of deposition of bright aerosol is 0.001–0.01 μm/yr, the surface would be coated (to optical instruments) in hundreds-to-thousands of years unless cleansing processes are active. The dark dunes must be mobile on this very short timescale to prevent the accumulation of bright coatings. Huygens landed in a region of the VIMS bright and dark blue materials and about 30 km south of the nearest occurrence of dunes visible in the RADAR SAR images. Fluvial/pluvial processes, every few centuries or millennia, must be cleansing the dark floors of the incised channels and scouring the dark plains at the Huygens landing site both imaged by Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer (DISR).

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/52907/
Document Type:Article
Title:Correlations between Cassini VIMS spectra and RADAR SAR images: Implications for Titan's surface composition and the character of the Huygens Probe Landing Site
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Soderblom, Laurence A.US Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Kirk, Randolph L.US Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Lunine, Jonathan I.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Anderson, Jeffrey A.US Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Baines, Kevin H.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Barnes, Jason W.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA; NASA AMES Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Barrett, Janet M.US Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Brown, Robert H.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Buratti, Bonnie J.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Clark, Roger N.US Geological Survey, Denver, CO, USAUNSPECIFIED
Cruikshank, Dale P.NASA AMES Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Elachi, CharlesJet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Janssen, Michael A.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Jaumann, RalfUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Karkoschka, ErichLunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Le Mouélic, StéphaneUniversity of Nantes, Nantes, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Lopes, Rosaly M.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Lorenz, Ralph D.Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, MD, USAUNSPECIFIED
McCord, Thomas B.HIGP/SOEST, University of Hawaii, HI, USAUNSPECIFIED
Nicholson, Philip d.Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USAUNSPECIFIED
Radebaugh, JaniBrigham Young University, Provo, UT, USAUNSPECIFIED
Rizk, BasharLunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Sotin, ChristopheUniversity of Nantes, Nantes, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Stofan, Ellen R.Proxemy Research, Rectortown, VA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Sucharski, Tracie L.US Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Tomasko, Martin G.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Wall, Stephen D.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USAUNSPECIFIED
Date:2007
Journal or Publication Title:Planetary and Space Science
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:55
DOI:10.1016/j.pss.2007.04.014
Page Range:pp. 2025-2036
Publisher:Elsevier
Status:Published
Keywords:Titan, VIMS, Radar, SAR, DISR, Dunes; Mantles, Coatings, Substrate, Water ice, Hydrocarbons, Titriles, Tholin, Aerosols
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben CASSINI (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research
Deposited By: Pieth, Susanne
Deposited On:16 Jan 2008
Last Modified:27 Apr 2009 14:39

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