Bright Highlands and Dark Plains

3-D view of the Huygens Landing Site
December 1, 2005
PIA NumberPIA06441
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This is a perspective view of the surface of Saturn's moon Titan near the Huygens probe landing site that includes the bright-dark boundary between the bright highlands and lower dark plains. This provides stereo coverage with a resolution of about 50 feet per pixel (roughly 15 meters) and a convergence angle of approximately 15 degrees. The perspective image is color-coded in altitude with blue lowest and red highest. The total relief is approximately 500 feet (roughly 150 meters) and the area covered is about 0.6 by 2 miles (1 by 3 kilometers). The valleys exhibiting dark drainages in the brighter higher, terrains have steep sides ranging up to approximately 30 degrees.

A stereo pair of images (insert) was acquired from the Huygens descent imager/spectral radiometer. The left image was acquired from 9 miles (14.8 kilometers) above the surface with the high resolution imager; the right from 4 miles (6.7 kilometers) altitude with the medium resolution imager.

The Huygens probe was delivered to Saturn's moon Titan by the Cassini spacecraft, which is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. NASA supplied two instruments on the probe, the descent imager/spectral radiometer and the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit

Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/USGS