Visit the USGS Home Page Go to the Astrogeology Research Program Home Page USGS Astrogeology Research Program

Huygens’s second landing anniversary

[DISR Image]
DISR view of Titan’s surface from 8 kilometres altitude
Image Credit: ESA/NASA/Univ. of Arizona

Two years ago, planetary scientists across the world watched as Europe and the US did something amazing. The Huygens descent module drifted down through the hazy atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan, beaming its data back to Earth via the Cassini mothership. Today, Huygens's data are still continuing to surprise researchers. Titan holds a unique place in the Solar System. It is the only moon covered in a significant atmosphere. The atmosphere has long intrigued scientists as it may be similar to that of the early Earth but the deeper mystery was: what lies beneath the haze?

Huygens parachuted to the surface of Titan on 14 January 2005. While Cassini keeps flying by this moon of Saturn collecting new amazing data, one can say that the data collected by Huygens’s six instruments during its 2.5-hour descent and touch-down have provided the most spectacular view of this world yet and first dramatic change in the way we now think about it.

More: ESA - Huygens’s second landing anniversary – the surprises continue

Link: USGS - Cassini Mission