Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 07/30/2018 - 14:12

The Cassini spacecraft is in orbit around Saturn, investigating its rings and moons as well as the giant planet.  The Astrogeology staff provides ISIS software for multiple imagers and the radar system onboard Cassini.  Research has largely focused on Titan, a moon with a thick atmosphere and an active hydrocarbon “hydrologic” cycle.  Recent results use the topographic information from the radar to identify sites on Titan that are likely to have “cryovolcanism” where water behaves like lava in the frigid environment of the outer solar system.  Another study is detecting liquid lakes of hydrocarbon by observing the sun glint when the geometry between the sun, lake, and spacecraft are just right.  Spectroscopic studies have identified ethane as a major constituent of the liquid and radar topography is revealing the relief and depth of these lakes.