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Thermal, dielectric and structural properties of Enceladus' leading face

Abstract : The Cassini RADAR was initially designed to examine the surface of Titan through the veil of its optically-opaque atmosphere. However, it is occasionally used to observe airless Saturn's moons from long range and, less frequently, during targeted flybys. In particular, the 16th targeted encounter of Enceladus (Nov. 6, 2011, flyby E16) was dedicated to the RADAR instrument which then acquired data for over 4 hours. This paper focuses on the mid-resolution (0.1-0.6REnceladus) and low-resolution polarized data (0.6-1.0REnceladus) collected during the E16 flyby in the radiometry mode of the RADAR, mainly on the leading side of the moon.In its passive mode, the RADAR records the thermal emission at 2-cm wavelength from, likely, the first meters of an icy surface. Ries and Janssen (2015) first analyzed the E16 mid-resolution radiometry observation and reported on a large-scale emissivity anomaly, possibly associated with the seemingly young tectonized Leading Hemisphere Terrain mapped by Crow-Willard and Pappalardo (2015). With the goal of further investigating the extension of the anomaly region and providing constrains on the thermal, dielectric and structural properties of Enceladus' near surface, we have re-examined this dataset as well as observations acquired in two orthogonal polarizations with the help of a thermal model. This thermal model accounts for both diurnal and seasonal variations of the incident flux, including eclipses which is of importance for the E16 observations partially occurred during a solar eclipse by Saturn.Preliminary results suggest that the average thermal inertia of the near surface of Enceladus' leading face is relatively low, as low as 40 Jm-2<:sup>K-1s-1/2 . This value does not depart much from the one inferred from measurements in the IR suggesting that the surface of Enceladus is covered by a very porous regolith, at least a few meters thick. In agreement, with this interpretation, the degree of volume scattering (i.e., high-order scattering by voids/heterogeneities in the subsurface) was found to be high, especially in the anomaly region where it is of same order of magnitude of the anomalously radar-bright terrains on Titan (Janssen et al., 2011).
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Submitted on : Sunday, October 30, 2016 - 2:33:41 PM
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Alice Le Gall, Léa Bonnefoy, Cédric Leyrat, Michael A. Janssen. Thermal, dielectric and structural properties of Enceladus' leading face. DPS 48 / EPSC 11 (Division for Planetary Sciences and the European Planetary Science Congress), Oct 2016, Pasadena, United States. ⟨insu-01389897⟩



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