Thursday, January 20, 2005

Amateur Huygens images

Amongst others, Nature is reporting that an amateur effort beat ESA to publishing the first images from the Huygens probe. They took the raw data which was made immediately available online by ESA and in less than eight hours published the first mosaics to the web. Of course there are obvious issues with calibration and quality control with these amateur images, and you have to remember that the amateurs aren't putting the careers on the line if they got it wrong, however the entire thing must must have caused some embarrassement for the ESA project scientists. That said, the amount of press coverage generated about the mission (which includes New Scientist, Nature, der Spiegel and of course Slashdot) due to the images must go some way to making up for the embarrassment.

CREDIT: Mike Zawistowski/ESA/NASA/U. Arizona
This seaside view of Titan was created by Mike Zawitowski using the Terragen software. The terrain details are based on aerial images returned to Earth by the Huygens probe as it fell towards Titan on Friday 14 January.

The amateur's efforts are being coordinated by Anthony Liekens and more information, along with more images, are available on his Huygens pages.