Touchdown on Titan: Huygens Probe Hits its Mark

Huygens probe at Titan. Artists impression of the Huygens probe just above the surface of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The surface is shown covered in organic ices and a lake of liquid ethane. After entering the atmosphere Huygens will descend under a large main parachute to allow upper atmosphere measurements. This will then be discarded, and Huygens will drop more rapidly under this 3-metre secondary parachute to the surface. The descent will take about 2 1/2 hours, and Huygens will hit the surface at a speed of 7 metres per second. Huygens is a European project, part of NASAs Cassini spacecraft, and will arrive at Titan on 27 November 2004.

A European probe has landed on Saturn’s moon Titan a mysterious satellite that has perplexed astronomers for decades. The probe’s landing is the farthest touchdown for any human-built object to set land on another world.


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