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Dual Frequency Orbiter-Radar System for the Observation of Seas and Tides on Titan: Extraterrestrial Oceanography from Satellite

Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1898; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161898
Received: 16 July 2019 / Revised: 5 August 2019 / Accepted: 6 August 2019 / Published: 14 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Derived Bathymetry)
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Abstract

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is believed to have a ~100 km thick ice shell above a global ocean of liquid water. Organic materials, including liquid hydrocarbon lakes and seas in its polar terrain, cover Titan’s surface, which makes it a world of two oceans. The RADAR instrument on board Cassini, was able to probe lakes and seas during few dedicated altimetric observations, revealing its capability to work as a sounder. Herein, we describe the design of, and scientific motivation for, a dual frequency X/Ka-band radar system that is able to investigate Titan’s subsurface liquid water ocean, as well as the depth and composition of its surface liquid hydrocarbon basins. The proposed system, which could take advantage of the telecommunications dish, can operate as a sounder, as Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) able to map the surface at tens meters of scale resolution, and when data are acquired from close-adjacent orbits, as a repeat-pass SAR interferometer (InSAR). The instrument, which is based on the architecture of the Cassini RADAR, can also characterize Titan’s interior by using geophysical measurements of the tidal amplitude to derive high accuracy estimates of the Love number h2 from a 1500 km circular orbit. View Full-Text
Keywords: bathymetry; radar system; extraterrestrial oceanography; geophysical measurements bathymetry; radar system; extraterrestrial oceanography; geophysical measurements
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Mastrogiuseppe, M. Dual Frequency Orbiter-Radar System for the Observation of Seas and Tides on Titan: Extraterrestrial Oceanography from Satellite. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1898.

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