Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Cassini-Huygens

Another snippet of news from the plenary talk was that the Cassini probe sucessfully carried out its flyby of Titan last night. Data download continued through the night into the early morning hours of this morning. The flyby was by far the closest any spacecraft has ever come to Titan.

CREDIT: NASA
This image is one of the closest ever taken of Saturn's hazy moon Titan. It was captured by Cassini's imaging science subsystem on Oct. 26, 2004, as the spacecraft flew by Titan. At its closest, Cassini was 745 miles above the moon, 300 times closer than during its first flyby on Jul. 3, 2004.

The Huygens probe, built and operated by the ESA, is still attached to Cassini and is scheduled for release on Christmas Eve. It will then attempt a touch down on Titan on Jan. 14 next year.

Update: The Huygens probe sucessfully landed on the surface of Titan at the start of 2005.