Julia Miller (Cornell)

Julia Miller (Cornell)
Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm


Channels on Titan: An Examination of Data Effects and a Comparison with Earth Analogs



Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, is the only extraterrestrial body in the solar system known to have an active hydrological system. Cassini RADAR and the Huygens descent camera have revealed complex channel networks on the moon’s surface, and with the complete datasets from the Cassini-Huygens mission, an updated map of Titan’s channels is timely. We have produced a map of all channels on Titan observable in the complete Cassini synthetic aperture radar (SAR) dataset, excluding potential near- or sub-resolution channels in labyrinth terrains. Titan’s channel systems, as seen in the Cassini SAR data (with resolutions of 350 m/pixel to 1.7 km/pixel), bear a striking resemblance to the largest river networks on Earth in both morphology and visibility in SAR data. To assess the validity of our Titan mapping, we chose three terrestrial river networks with similarities in scale and morphology to those on Titan, and mapped them in high resolution visible images, medium resolution visible and SAR images, and “Cassini quality” downgraded SAR images. We calculated channel metrics for each mapped channel network to determine which metrics were resolution-invariant, and to gain a better understanding of how the low-resolution Cassini SAR data might bias our results and interpretations.


About the Series

The MIT Planetary Lunch Seminar [PLS], formerly PICS, is a weekly seminar series organized within the EAPS department. Colloquia topics span the range of research interests of the department's planetary sciences research program. The seminars usually take place on Tuesdays from 12-1:30 pm in 54-517 unless otherwise noted (term-time only). Speakers include members of the MIT community and visitors. Talks are intended to appeal to graduate students, postdocs, research scientists, and faculty with a background in planetary science. A light lunch is provided.