This is what an artist thinks Huygens will look like in Titan's atmosphere. The probe is hanging from its parachute, with Saturn in the background.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy ESA.
Huygens Probe to Titan
The Huygens space probe landed on Saturn's moon Titan in
January 2005. Huygens made measurements of Titan's
thick atmosphere and took pictures of the moon's surface.
The probe was built by the European Space Agency.
Huygens hitched a ride to Saturn
on the back of NASA's
Cassini spacecraft. Cassini "let
go" of Huygens on December 24, 2004. Cassini
will continue to orbit Saturn, studying the planet and its many
moons and rings,
for at least four years. Huygens landed on Titan on January 14, 2005.
A heat shield protected Huygens as it entered Titan's upper atmosphere.
Next, a series of parachutes slowed the probe down and gently lowered it through
the moon's dense atmosphere. Huygens took measurements of the atmosphere
as it descended. Finally, the probe landed on the cold (-178º C,
-288º F) surface of Titan. Huygens continued to send back data for a couple of hours after it touched down.
The Huygens probe had several instruments that measured Titan's
atmosphere. The instruments measured things like the temperature, wind
speed, pressure, and the types of gases in the atmosphere. The probe had a
camera that took several hundred pictures on the way down. Huygens also
had instruments that will help us learn about the icy ground that it landed on.
The probe was named after Christiaan
Huygens, a Dutch astronomer. Huygens discovered Titan in 1655.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
Cassini is on its way to Saturn. It will take Cassini over 6 years to get to Saturn. Cassini was launched on a Titan rocket early in the morning on October 15, 1997. The Cassini probe is one of the biggest...more
A spacecraft named Cassini will study the planet Saturn for several years. Cassini blasted off from Earth in October 1997. After flying past Venus, Earth, and Jupiter, Cassini finally arrived at Saturn...more
NASA's Cassini spacecraft is in orbit around the planet Saturn. Cassini carried a landing probe, named Huygens, with it on its long journey from Earth. On December 24, 2004, Cassini released the Huygens...more
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was one of the most important exploration tools of the past two decades, and will continue to serve as a great resource well into the new millennium. The HST found numerous...more
Driven by a recent surge in space research, the Apollo program hoped to add to the accomplishments of the Lunar Orbiter and Surveyor missions of the late 1960's. Apollo 11 was the name of the first mission...more
Apollo 12 was launched on Nov. 14, 1969, surviving a lightning strike which temporarily shut down many systems, and arrived at the Moon three days later. Astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean descended...more
Apollo 15 marked the start of a new series of missions from the Apollo space program, each capable of exploring more lunar terrain than ever before. Launched on July 26, 1971, Apollo 15 reached the Moon...more