Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Nantes/University of Arizona

NASA’s spacecraft Cassini has been hanging around Saturn for 13 years and in the meantime, its Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) has accumulated data. All of this data has now made it possible to compile into a spectacular display of the Moon Titan.

NASA has released new views of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, taken by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) instrument on the decommissioned Cassini spacecraft. They represent a lot of data that has been combined and smoothed out and they show a clear view of what the moon looks like under its dense atmosphere.

The center, yellow image shows how Titan would locolorsuman eyes. Around it are the six new infrared representations, rendered in colours that human eyes can see.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Nantes/University of Arizona

The VIMS instrument records the infrared wavelengths of light that aren’t scattered by Titan’s particle-filled atmosphere the way visible light wavelengths are.

The images show the complex surface of Titan hiding beneath its atmosphere. We already know this moon is a strange place. Titan is 50 per cent larger than Earth’s moon and has liquid hydrocarbon oceans at its surface with rivers, lakes and even methane rainstorms.