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Titan Flyby - 2 October 2007

Titan Flyby - 2 October 2007

1 October 2007

Thirty-two days after Cassini's last flyby, the spacecraft revisits Titan for its thirty-seventh targeted encounter: Titan-36. The closest approach to the Saturnian moon occurs on Tuesday, 2 October, at 04:42:43 UT at an altitude of 975 kilometres above the surface and at a speed of 6.3 kilometres per second. The latitude at closest approach is 60° S and the encounter occurs on orbit number 50.

This encounter is set up with two manoeuvres: an Iapetus encounter cleanup manoeuvre on 17 September, and a Titan approach manoeuvre on 28 September. Titan-36 is the second in a series of outbound encounters that will last until the end of the prime mission (mid 2008), and occurs less than two days after closest approach to Saturn. This is the first in a series of seven Titan southern hemisphere encounters.

Science Activities

  • Cassini Radar (RADAR)
    RADAR will have the opportunity to examine Titan's southern regions. The T36 flyby will reach similar latitudes to the southernmost previous RADAR observations on T7. The RADAR observations during T36 include inbound and outbound radiometry of terrain at low and mid latitudes; inbound and outbound scatterometry of Titan, including views of the Huygens landing site, inbound and outbound altimetry, and a short segment of high-altitude, low resolution SAR around 30° South.
  • Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS)
    INMS allows RADAR to control the spacecraft pointing during closest approach, but RADAR is actually "riding along" while INMS takes observations close to Titan in order to determine the moon's atmospheric and ionospheric composition and thermal structure. These observations are part of the MAPS Titan campaign.
  • Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS)
    UVIS makes several slow scans across Titan's visible hemisphere to form spectral images. The objective is to obtain spectral images of Titan in the EUV and FUV to map the aurora and dayglow, to map hydrocarbon absorption, and to measure scattering and absorption by aerosols in the stratopshere. The UVIS slit will be scanned across Titan's disk to build up an image at many wavelengths.
  • Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS)
    VIMS will capture global maps of Titan to study cloud evolution and seek other changes.
  • Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
    ISS will monitor Titan via limited global-scale mosaics for surface and atmosphere changes. The imaging team will attempt to see surface colour variations, and monitor limb hazes. ISS had coverage of similar areas at higher resolution during the previous flyby (T35). Series of flybys that cover the same area repeatedly are useful for monitoring time dependent phenomena. These observations will allow us to see if, for instance, clouds are appearing or disappearing, if there are patterns in weather, or if the weather has any correlations with Titan's surface features.
  • Dual Technique Magnetometer (MAG)
    MAG successfully downlinked data from the T7 flyby. By combining these with the data from the T36 flyby, the team will be able to look for temporal variations in Titan's magnetic field in the wake/south polar region.

Table of Events

22 September 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-36
Activity
20:51:00 -09d 08h Start of sequence S34 which contains Titan-36

28 September 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-36
Activity
11:36:00 -03d 17h OTM #130 prime. Titan-36 targeting manoeuvre

29 September 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-36
Activity
04:06:00 -03d 01h OTM #130 backup

30 September 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-36
Activity
11:28:40 -01d 17h Saturn periapse, R = 4.7 RS, lat = 5°, phase = 138°

1 October 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-36
Activity
22:49:40 -05h 53m Descending ring plane crossing
12:51:00 -15h 51m Start of the TOST segment
12:51:00 -15h 51m Turn cameras to Titan
13:21:00 -15h 21m Deadtime, 9 minutes and 43 seconds long. Used to accommodate changes in flyby time
13:30:43 -15h 12m Titan atmospheric observations. Obtain information on CO, HCN, CH4. Integrate on disk at airmass 1.5-2.0
18:42:43 -10h 00m Titan atmospheric observations. Photometry observations of particle properties, vertical distributions ~6 km/px
19:42:43 -09h 00m Titan atmospheric observations. EUVFUV imaging of Titan
23:31:43 -05h 11m New waypoint
23:53:43 -04h 49m RADAR observations. Radiometry

2 October 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-36
Activity
02:42:43 -02h 00m RADAR observations. Scatterometry
03:50:43 -00h 52m Transition to thruster control
04:11:56 -00h 31m RADAR observations. Altimetry
04:27:43 -00h 15m INMS/RADAR observations. SAR observations
04:42:43 +00h 00m Titan-36 Flyby Closest Approach Time. Altitude = 975 km, speed = 6.3 km/s, 67°phase at closest approach
15:09:14 +10h 27m Ascending ring plane crossing
04:57:43 +00h 15m RADAR Observations. Altimetry
05:12:43 +00h 30m Transition off of thruster control
05:36:01 +00h 54m RADAR observations. Scatterometry
06:42:43 +02h 00m RADAR observations. Radiometry
09:32:43 +04h 50m New waypoint
09:52:43 +05h 10m Titan surface observations. Regional map
12:42:43 +08h 00m Titan surface observations. Global map
13:22:43 +08h 40m Titan atmospheric observations. Photometry observations
13:42:43 +09h 00m Titan atmospheric observations. Obtain information on CO, HCN, CH4. Integrate on disk at airmass 1.5-2.0
15:42:43 +11h 00m Titan surface and atmosphere observations. ISS NAC monitoring of surface and atmosphere
17:42:43 +13h 00m Titan surface observations. Regional map
18:42:43 +14h 00m Titan atmospheric observations. Obtain information on the thermal structure of Titan's stratosphere

3 October 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-36
Activity
03:28:43 +22h 46m Deadtime, 22 minutes and 17 seconds long. Used to accommodate changes in flyby time
03:51:00 +23h 09m Turn to Earth-line
04:19:00 +23h 37m Playback of T36 data. Madrid 70M and 34M

Titan Ground Trace

Image courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

The above image shows the ground trace of the Titan-36 flyby on a mosaic of Titan's surface, for a period of 32 hours around closest approach. The colour of the trace indicates Cassini's altitude above the surface. Blue: > 100 000 km, green: < 100 000 km, light blue: < 50 000, yellow: < 10 000 km, orange: < 5000 km, red: < 2000 km. The point of closest approach is marked T36 (Cassini at 975 km altitude). Cassini approaches Titan over the equatorial region at 16 hours before closest approach (centre right in this image), and then continues to pass over Titan's southern hemisphere.

Observation Results

Cassini Instrument: Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)

Date: 19 November 2007

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Image Notes: The dark, equatorial region known as Shangri-la is visible in this infrared composite view taken at 746 and 938 nm from 1.4 million km out.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
2-Dec-2021 00:20 UT

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