Saturday, January 15, 2005

Titan in the gloamin'

Stones on Titan in an orange atmosphere

My friend can't see the point. But the little Huygens probe worked like a charm and came to a landing amidst a field of worn pebbles, possibly of ice, worn by rivers of ethane. They mobilized the deep space network in Australia as Cassini passed out of contact with the probe and picked up the telemetry. There was a last minute rush to swing radio telescopes in Europe and Asia into action as it continued to transmit for 70 minutes on the ground. They needed the radio telescoes though because someone turned off one of the two Cassini receivers accidently and they lost a critical part of the data that was to be used for calculating wind speed. Fortunately the data will be recoverable with a some work for the radio telescope feeds. Keep up to date at the Planetary Society's Huygens blog
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