View Full Version : Discussion: Preparing for Huygens' Release

2004-Oct-14, 05:38 PM
SUMMARY: When NASA's Cassini spacecraft took off towards Saturn, it brought along a passenger: the ESA's Huygens probe, which is designed study Saturn's largest moon, Titan. The two spacecraft have been orbiting together for a few months now, but on January 14, 2005, Huygens will make the plunge into Titan's thick methane and hydrocarbon atmosphere. And if it's really lucky, the probe will survive the journey down to the moon's surface, and give scientists a unique opportunity to study an environment that might have been similar to our own Earth's early history.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

2004-Oct-14, 07:10 PM
Well, the Day is getting closer, and I'm getting more and more excited as we approach January.

2004-Oct-14, 08:15 PM
Hopefully everything goes well. There is no time for error.....well in my lifetime at least. <_<
It would be interesting to see what that Martian land looks like.

2004-Oct-14, 08:17 PM
Life... here we come&#33; LOL

2004-Oct-15, 01:24 AM
Originally posted by Guest@Oct 14 2004, 08:17 PM
Life... here we come&#33; LOL
Unlikely... it&#39;s just too cold there. Titan has a lot of the required ingredients to start life up, but it&#39;s in a dormant state (supposedly). I&#39;m not trying to dash optimistic hopes, but I doubt anything there would qualify as "alive".

2004-Oct-15, 08:23 AM
Damn I hope this works, to much stuff has gone wrong in the past with Mars/Venus probes and Genesis

I have a lot of faith in the Cassini-Huygens because it has been doing wonderful so far, let&#39;s hope our luck continues and we get images from the world of Titan :D

2004-Oct-15, 05:22 PM
Yay, just a few more months&#33;&#33;&#33;

What exactly is Huygens going to be looking for once it enters Titans atmosphere?

2004-Oct-15, 06:12 PM
Originally posted by galaxygirl@Oct 15 2004, 05:22 PM
Yay, just a few more months&#33;&#33;&#33;

What exactly is Huygens going to be looking for once it enters Titans atmosphere?
It&#39;ll take measurements of the atmosphere and take pictures of the ground if at all possible. With luck it will land in a hydrocarbon sea and survive long enough to look around once it hits the surface.

2004-Oct-15, 09:30 PM
Tidal forces on Titan (from Saturn) are nearly 100 times more powerful than Moons tidal forces on Earths surface.
Due to bind rotation-Titan to Saturn is Titan facing the same hemisphere to Saturn like Moon to Earth, due to eccentricity of Titans orbit... can be effects of these forces 10 times bigger than influence of Moon on Earth...(Earth axis rotation is 24 hours, Titan axis and orbital rotations are the same-less than 16 days)...
Huyhens should take care during landing...it can be overflooded&#33;
Tidal tsunamy can be there like those ones during flood on Earth.
Hurricanes could exists over there too...

2004-Dec-17, 11:44 PM
god.. I can&#39;t wait. it would be so exciting to splash on an ocean not on earth&#33; Does anybody know the exact time, preferably Pacific Standard Time, that Huygens will seperate from Cassini?

TuTone... Martian land???? Are YOU on mars?

2004-Dec-18, 03:20 AM
In relation to the previous post I am wondering if anyone has heard of a timeline. I was also wondering if NASA TV or any networks will be having a play by play like they did with the rovers. That was exciting watching that? Also if this is the case if photos will stream in like the rover landing?

2004-Dec-18, 04:58 AM
Originally posted by Guest@Dec 18 2004, 03:20 AM
Also if this is the case if photos will stream in like the rover landing?
I don&#39;t actually remember there being a photographic instrument on Huygens...
Yes, there is one, both visible and IR. They also have a lamp that will turn on just before touch-down since the light is apt to be dim.
Huygens instruments (http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/instruments-huygens.cfm)
These images will get relayed to Cassini, which I presume will be using its high gain antenna to capture this data, and then Cassini will turn the antenna back to Earth and transmit the images here. They can&#39;t really arrive in real time.

2004-Dec-19, 08:42 PM
Weather Huygens makes it or not, we really need to send a "better" probe to Titan. Like a rover or plane or ballon. Now that would be something.

2004-Dec-19, 08:46 PM
If the informations on this page are right:

Huygens departure window starts at 01:30 GMT (25.12.04) and ends at 03:30 GMT. Planned separation time is 03:07 GMT.

"Data confirming separation [altitude and control system data]available at approx. 05:36 GMT. Confirmation of separation expected at 09:00 GMT."

greatings, Sandro

2004-Dec-19, 08:54 PM
As they are still talking of the third Titan Flyby on 13.12.2004, it seem that the timeline I mentioned above, was an old one.... so I&#39;m not shure if the times for Huygens are still right??&#33;&#33;


2004-Dec-20, 12:50 PM
I hope the Huygens mission will be successful, I read somewhere that we have been underestimating the gravity of Titan, which could possibly have desastrous consequences for Huygens&#39; descent.


2004-Dec-22, 06:33 AM
Hmm... "methane and hydrocarbon atmosphere". I thought it was most nytrogen.
I think the probe will land on the land, since there are no methan oceans on Titan.
I wonder if tidal forces are source of energy enough to sustain life.
I imagine that life could be found below the surface and Huygens will drill into Titan, woudn&#39;t she?

2004-Dec-22, 09:06 AM
Now the separation time is clear:

real time 2:00 GMT (25.12.2005)
eart time 3:08 GMT (25.12.2004) / one-way light time = 1:07:39

Confirmation possible at around 4:00 GMT

source: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm

regards, Sandro

2004-Dec-22, 10:50 PM
From Space Daily:

A confirmation of successful release is expected to be received from NASA&#39;s Deep Space Network tracking stations at Madrid, Spain and Goldstone, Calif., shortly before 8:00 p.m. PST on Dec. 24. A team of JPL engineers and ESA mission managers will be monitoring spacecraft activities at JPL during the release phase of the mission.