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Exact Cavity Perturbation Technique to Determine Complex Permittivity of Dielectric MaterialsCassini is an international spacecraft mission facilitated by NASA and ESA which seeks to understand the Saturn planetary system, including rings and moons. Launched in 1997, the Cassini spacecraft contains two major components: the Cassini orbiter that has been orbiting Saturn since October 2004, and the European-built Huygens probe that landed on Titan's surface in December 2004 to study its geology and atmosphere. Titan, Saturn's largest moon and the second largest moon in the solar system, possesses surface and atmospheric features similar to those of Earth, including lakes, seas, and mountains. A physical characterization of these features is critical to understanding the origin and evolution of Titan, whose surface composition reflects its geological history. Because Titan's atmosphere is largely composed of methane, it is believed that surfaces lakes are filled with mixtures of liquid hydrocarbons. The Cassini orbiter's RADAR instrument has been scanning Titan's surface at the atmosphere-penetrating microwave frequency of 13.8 Gigahertz since 2004. However, accurate interpretation of these data is limited by a lack of knowledge regarding dielectric properties of liquid hydrocarbons at cryogenic temperatures. Therefore, it is of specific interest to experimentally determine values for the complex permittivities of various liquid hydrocarbon mixtures at the surface conditions of Titan. In particular, more accurate values for complex permittivity would improve estimates of lake depth and surface composition obtained from the instrument's altimetry and backscatter modes.
Document ID
Document Type
External Source(s)
Starr, Charles H. (Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
Barmatz, Martin B. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
April 22, 2015
Publication Date
August 15, 2011
Subject Category
Engineering (General)
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Distribution Limits
dielectric constant
cavity pertubation
microwave cavity