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Topic: Huygens Probe

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft data reveals Dust Storms on Saturn’s moon Titan

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has revealed what appear to be giant dust storms in equatorial regions of Saturn’s moon Titan. The discovery, described in a paper published on September 24th, 2018 in Nature Geoscience, makes Titan the third Solar System body, in addition to Earth and Mars, where dust storms have been observed.

The observation is helping scientists to better understand the fascinating and dynamic environment of Saturn’s largest moon.

Artist's concept of a dust storm on Titan. (IPGP/Labex UnivEarthS/University Paris Diderot – C. Epitalon & S. Rodriguez)

Artist’s concept of a dust storm on Titan. (IPGP/Labex UnivEarthS/University Paris Diderot – C. Epitalon & S. Rodriguez)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft’s 20 Year Mission to come to a close

 

Written by Steven Siceloff
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationFlorida – As NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spends its last few weeks in orbit around Saturn before making a controlled impact with the planet in what NASA dubbed Cassini’s “Grand Finale,” some of those who helped launch the mission 20 years ago are thrilled with the success of the massive probe they helped dispatch to one of the solar system’s most intriguing worlds.

“There’s just a real sense of fulfillment associated with being part of a launch team, particularly something as big as Cassini and as complicated as Cassini is and the whole makeup of the whole Cassini team,” said Ray Lugo, launch director for Cassini. “It was a big community of folks and everybody had to do their part to make sure that mission got off right.”

The planet Saturn as seen from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (NASA)

The planet Saturn as seen from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. (NASA)

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NASA and European Space Agency look back at the landing on Saturn’s moon Titan

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Ten years ago, an explorer from Earth parachuted into the haze of an alien moon toward an uncertain fate. After a gentle descent lasting more than two hours, it landed with a thud on a frigid floodplain, surrounded by icy cobblestones.

With this feat, the Huygens probe accomplished humanity’s first landing on a moon in the outer solar system. Huygens was safely on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.

The hardy probe not only survived the descent and landing, but continued to transmit data for more than an hour on the frigid surface of Titan, until its batteries were drained.

An artist's interpretation of the area surrounding the Huygens landing site based on images and data returned by the probe on Jan. 14, 2005. (ESA - C. Carreau)

An artist’s interpretation of the area surrounding the Huygens landing site based on images and data returned by the probe on Jan. 14, 2005. (ESA – C. Carreau)

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New Analysis reveals how European Space Agency’s Huygens probe landed on Saturn’s moon Titan after being delivered by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The European Space Agency’s Huygens probe, ferried to Saturn’s moon Titan by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, bounced, slid and wobbled its way to rest in the 10 seconds after touching down on Titan in January 2005, a new analysis reveals. The moon’s surface is more complex than previously thought.

Scientists reconstructed the chain of events by analyzing data from a variety of instruments that were active during the impact, in particular changes in the acceleration. The instrument data were compared with results from computer simulations and a drop test using a model of Huygens designed to replicate the landing.

Artist concept showing the descent and landing of Huygens. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/ESA)

Artist concept showing the descent and landing of Huygens. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/ESA)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft investigates Saturn’s giant moon Titan’s Chemical Factory

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Saturn’s giant moon Titan hides behind a thick, smoggy atmosphere that’s well known to scientists as one of the most complex chemical environments in the solar system.

It’s a productive “factory” cranking out hydrocarbons that rain down on Titan’s icy surface and cloak it in soot. With a brutally cold surface temperature of around minus 270 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 170 degrees Celsius), the hydrocarbons form lakes of liquid methane and ethane.

Saturn's third-largest moon Dione can be seen through the haze of its largest moon, Titan, in this view of the two posing before the planet and its rings from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

Saturn's third-largest moon Dione can be seen through the haze of its largest moon, Titan, in this view of the two posing before the planet and its rings from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

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