View Full Version : Discussion: How Huygens Will Land on Titan

2003-Aug-29, 08:17 PM
SUMMARY: One significant event in the Cassini mission will be when the Huygens probe is deployed to Saturn's largest moon Titan in early 2005. A team of scientists from the European Space Agency recently tested how their probe will perform on the long drop through Titan's atmosphere by dropping a replica here on Earth. The mock-up was dropped from an altitude of 33 km on a balloon and it used a parachute to slow its return to Earth. ESA controllers use the descent time to calibrate the instrumentation that will communicate with the real Huygens probe when it makes its visit to Titan.

Comments or questions about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts.

2003-Aug-29, 08:22 PM
I understand that a drop over Antarctica is also in the works. Hopefully this deployment system will work just as well in the colder climates.


2003-Aug-29, 08:41 PM
I found it kind of strange that they're doing these calibrations after Huygens has already been in flight for several years. You'd think they'd be pretty much stuck with what they launched on board Cassini.

2003-Aug-29, 10:02 PM
early 2005? I thought this was supposed to happen in Sept. 2004! Anyways, I can't wait to find out what secrets Titan holds for us. We've never seen the surface!

2003-Aug-29, 10:31 PM
Good Point Frasier!!! :o That's really putting the cart before the horse.


2003-Sep-01, 07:00 PM
In the name of MARS, my ruling planet. No need to say farewell.

Wait in line to see a fuzzy mars image?!?
"I dont think so tim" :-)

Here is a Mars cap from Alpha Quadrant :

Biggest image I got:
4096x2048 920522 bytes
Image will likely NOT load into browser -
Make it a link and shift click the link to download file to disk.

Or if you have Java j2re and geforce2 or better opengl ...
You can animate mars (or earth) in your browser

Netscape 4.7 tested
java = earth
http://home.earthlink.net/~alpha-quadrant/...ysh_plugin.html (http://home.earthlink.net/~alpha-quadrant/java/earth/sysh_plugin.html)
java2 = mars
http://home.earthlink.net/~alpha-quadrant/...ysh_plugin.html (http://home.earthlink.net/~alpha-quadrant/java2/earth/sysh_plugin.html)

Netscape 6.2 tested
http://home.earthlink.net/~alpha-quadrant/.../earth/sys.html (http://home.earthlink.net/~alpha-quadrant/java/earth/sys.html)
http://home.earthlink.net/~alpha-quadrant/.../earth/sys.html (http://home.earthlink.net/~alpha-quadrant/java2/earth/sys.html)

you can mail me for help if you want,
(this is a challenge to moronic spammers - see if you can get past spaminator) :ph34r:


2003-Sep-03, 04:16 AM
Err, yeah, thanks AlphaQ, I can see how that's related to this story :blink:

Fraser, that same thought occured to me when I read the story. Obviously they tested the thing years before it launched... why do they need to do it again? Perhaps they're using these tests are dry-runs... but then, with a year still to go, why not do it closer to the date?


2003-Sep-03, 03:04 PM
I was wondering that too. Maybe the communications calibration was something that didn't need to be done until it was approaching Titan?

Also the probe isn't released until the mission has been at Saturn for about 6 months--thuse Frasier's comment about early 2005.