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Final Countdown Till Huygens Touchdown!

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posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 06:27 PM
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W
W,
Spectacular images Vivek and Hellmutt, I'm in complete awe....with exception to Olympus Mons,makes Mars look dull...


[edit on 14-1-2005 by Vajrayana]

[edit on 14-1-2005 by Vajrayana]




posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 06:40 PM
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Originally posted by Der Kapitan
The rocks look a bit like river stones: rounded and smmoooove.
Interesting!

First of all they arent stones at all. Its Ice. Ice Ice Baby



saturn.jpl.nasa.gov...
This raw image was returned by the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer camera onboard the European Space Agency's Huygens probe after the probe descended through the atmosphere of Titan. It shows the surface of Titan with ice blocks strewn around. The size and distance of the blocks will be determined when the image is properly processed.


[edit on 14-1-2005 by Vegemite]



posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 07:07 PM
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I've been waiting for this since Cassini was beginning to reach Saturn. Finally I get to peer through Titan. The images are absolutely amazing but the best are yet to come. I can't wait to see more images and hear explanations from the scientists.



posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 07:59 PM
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By Ben Berkowitz and Gina Keating

PASADENA, Calif. (Reuters) - The world's first glimpse of the surface of the Saturnian moon Titan revealed an unexpected mix of icy land and liquid as the Huygens space probe touched down on Friday.

The first three photos of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, beamed back on Friday afternoon, showed what appeared to be boulders of ice, drainage channels, shorelines and islands, reminding scientists of both Earth and Mars.

"I think none of us would have expected ... this kind of unveiling, but it is pretty consistent with the surprises we've seen before," said Al Diaz, NASA's associate administrator for science.


Larger that

The $3 billion Cassini-Huygens mission, a joint project of NASA and the European and Italian space agencies, was launched in 1997 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to study Saturn, its rings, moons and magnetosphere.

In December, the Saturn explorer Cassini dropped off Huygens for a three-week journey toward Titan, culminating in the probe's parachute-slowed plunge to the moon's surface.

Huygens took more than two hours to float to the surface, where it defied expectations of a quick death and continued to transmit for at least two hours.

OPEN PLAIN

One picture showed a vista eerily similar to shots of Mars, with a wide-open plain studded with rocky objects.

"We think probably they're not silicate rocks," said Marty Tomasko, principal investigator for one of the descent instruments, on a European Space Agency broadcast from its operations center in Germany. "They may well be large ice boulders."

Another image showed drainage channels that scientists said might carry leaks from canyons, while a third picture had bright areas and dark patches, including one mitten-shaped area.

"They're very suggestive of areas that either have flooded or are flooded at the moment," Tomasko said.

Titan is believed to have liquid methane and ethane on its surface, but the moon's heavy fog blanket made it unclear what Huygens would encounter when it reached its landing site.

Scientists said there had been problems retrieving data from one wind experiment but held out hopes they could get the information from a different study.

"We can say this afternoon, we have ... a scientific success," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, director-general of the European Space Agency (ESA).

YEARS OF STUDY

Given the sensitive nature of the mission, Cassini quadruple-recorded the data from the 705-pound Huygens. Scientists expect to spend years poring over the results.

"It's got to be unraveled, got to be put together and then scientists being scientists are going to argue about what it means as we piece together our place in the universe and how we came to be," said David Southwood, ESA's director of scientific programs.

Scientists believe the organic chemical reactions taking place on Titan resemble the processes that gave rise to life on Earth 4 billion years ago. Titan's atmosphere is mostly nitrogen, like Earth's, but its surface temperatures of about minus 292 F make it inhospitable to life.

The saucer-shaped probe was designed to rotate on its way down, taking high-definition, panoramic images of Titan's thick, smoggy atmosphere and landscape.

Along with six scientific instruments that measure the components of Titan's atmosphere, Huygens carries a sound recorder and lamp to look for signs of surface liquid.

Titan, believed to be the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere, is larger than Mercury and Pluto.

Some science team members monitoring the flight have waited decades to see the first of 750 planned images and other scientific readings from the moon, which has a yellow sky.

Huygens was named for the Dutch scientist who discovered Titan in 1655, NASA officials said.

www.reuters.com...


Larger than Mercury or Pluto, with one image showing a vista wide open plain studded with rocky objects,possibly ice boulders -Amazing!!! Could Triton had been it's own planet at some earlier time that got captured by the Saturns overwhelming gravity-like a cosmic duel,the loser getting owned?
[edit on 14-1-2005 by Vajrayana]

[edit on 14-1-2005 by Vajrayana]



posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 08:23 PM
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Vajrayana, thanks for providing that link.
Being somewhat space-challenged, the new of the Saturn moon photos came as a purprisse to me.
I admit all those early moon missions more or less left me a bit bored with space exploration.

I can see this is quite an achievement, though.


I have a question. I hope some of you may help with an answer. This porbe began sending pictures back to earth. Well, this is an awfully long way to go for a picture. How long does it take to take the picture and send it back to earth? How are these pictures transmitted? (I told you I was space-challenged!)
It took seven years to get there and the pictures arrive in mere moments?

Here's another NASA link. The two posted earlier would not load for me:
www1.nasa.gov...



posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 08:34 PM
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Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
Vajrayana, thanks for providing that link.
Being somewhat space-challenged, the new of the Saturn moon photos came as a purprisse to me.
I admit all those early moon missions more or less left me a bit bored with space exploration.

I can see this is quite an achievement, though.


I have a question. I hope some of you may help with an answer. This porbe began sending pictures back to earth. Well, this is an awfully long way to go for a picture. How long does it take to take the picture and send it back to earth? How are these pictures transmitted? (I told you I was space-challenged!)
It took seven years to get there and the pictures arrive in mere moments?

Here's another NASA link. The two posted earlier would not load for me:
www1.nasa.gov...


Donttreadonme...

Good to see ya over in this forum


(Warning this is highly inaccurate, but gets the point across well).. the pictures are transmitted back to earth in the same way your cell phone sends pictures. Basically they are taken digitally, (all 1s and 0s) sent back to earth at a specific frequency. The signal travels @ the speed of light, so it takes about 67 minutes (if memory serves) for the signal to make it back here. It's picked up, recorded and we look at it


Pretty amazing huh


Osiris

PS: Yes I know the signal is being relayed by Casini, etc.. it's irrelevant information for the answer to the quesiton



posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 08:42 PM
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Osiris,
Thanks for the answer. Amazing, about one hour to travel what took the spacecraft years to travel. So, it is like beamed through space digitally and received at ESA?
Really mind=boggling.

Thanks for the welcome here.

This is not one of my usual haunts. Every know and then I like to get out of my comfort zone and see what the rest of ATS is up to. I guess my new-found interest in Fragile Earth leads to an interest in the rest of the Universe

Also, totally burnt out on politics.



[edit on 14-1-2005 by DontTreadOnMe]



posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 09:09 PM
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Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
How long does it take to take the picture and send it back to earth? How are these pictures transmitted? (I told you I was space-challenged!)
It took seven years to get there and the pictures arrive in mere moments?



Hi Donttreadonme,
Been trying to gather more facts for ya,the mission took 7 years travelling 2.2 billion miles in total, Cassini/Huygen's followed a complex route that went around Earth,Venus Twice,then Jupiter using each planets gravity for extra kick. Huygens is beaming the data up to Cassini which is relaying the data via it's antenna back to Earth,taking approximately 1 hour 6 minutes to arrive by radio waves travelling at the speed of light.Here are some further facts about Triton:
Distance from Saturn: 759,200 miles. Titan is one of 33 moons that orbit Saturn.

Distance from Earth: about 750 million miles.

Atmosphere: orange and opaque, 10 times thicker than Earth's, reaching 375 miles high off the surface. It's 95 percent nitrogen with methane and cyanide. Titan is the only moon in the solar system with clouds and a planetlike atmosphere.

Diameter: 3,200 miles, larger than Mercury or Pluto. Second largest moon - Jupiter's Ganymede is the biggest - in the solar system.

Orbit around Saturn: every 15.95 days.

Surface temperature: 288 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (178 degrees below zero Celsius).

Surface: Until Huygens landed, scientists weren't certain whether Titan's surface was solid or liquid. The successful landing indicated that it has a solid surface.

Discovered: In 1655 by Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens.



posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 09:16 PM
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Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
Osiris,
Thanks for the answer. Amazing, about one hour to travel what took the spacecraft years to travel. So, it is like beamed through space digitally and received at ESA?
Really mind=boggling.

Thanks for the welcome here.

This is not one of my usual haunts. Every know and then I like to get out of my comfort zone and see what the rest of ATS is up to. I guess my new-found interest in Fragile Earth leads to an interest in the rest of the Universe

Also, totally burnt out on politics.



[edit on 14-1-2005 by DontTreadOnMe]


Here is a good site that explains the different types of antennas that are currently used in spacecraft.
www.esa.int...
Cassini-huygens both have a low gain and a high gain antenna,that transmits using radio waves.
Radio waves travel at the speed of light,roughly 300,000 kilometers per sec,or 186,000 miles per sec.
pretty quick.



posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 09:18 PM
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Vajrayana,
Thanks. That info is very helpful. What does this mission use for fuel? Is the part that orbits Saturn ever going to return, or will it just die in orbit?


Originally posted by Samhain
Here is a good site that explains the different types of antennas that are currently used in spacecraft.
www.esa.int...

Thanks for that link.
Spacecraft have really evolved in the last 40 years.


[edit on 14-1-2005 by DontTreadOnMe]



posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 09:36 PM
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Donttreadonme,
Seems wikipedia has got it covered nicely,I can't compete.LOL
Cassini's fuel: Plutonium power source and controversy

Because of Saturn's distance from the Sun, solar arrays were not feasible power sources for the spacecraft. To generate enough power, such arrays would have been too large and heavy. Thus, the Cassini orbiter gets its power from three radioisotope thermoelectric generators or RTGs, which use heat from the natural decay of plutonium (in the form of plutonium dioxide) to generate direct current electricity. These RTGs are of the same design as those which flew on the Galileo and Ulysses spacecraft and are designed to have a long operational lifetime. At the end of the 11-year Cassini mission, they will still be capable of producing at least 628 watts of power.

Cassini's use of plutonium — 32.8 kg, at the time the most ever launched into space — attracted significant protest from environmental groups, physicists, and some former NASA staff. NASA made several statements about the safety of the mission, all of which intended to mean the mission was acceptably safe: the chances of radioactive release during the first 3 1/2 minutes after launch were 1 in 1,400; the chances of a release later in the rocket's climb into orbit were 1 in 476; the chances of the craft falling to earth later into the mission were less than 1 in a million; a worst-case scenario would mean 120 humans could die from Cassini-caused cancer over 50 years. These figures were derided as wild guesses by commentators that included the theoretical physicist Professor Michio Kaku, who suggested 200,000 would die if the plutonium canisters survived reentry and crashed in a heavily populated area.

To gain momentum for the voyage to Saturn, Cassini's trajectory included several gravitational slingshot maneuvers: two passes of Venus, one past the Earth, then one past Jupiter. The Earth fly-by, which occurred successfully on August 18, 1999, was the final point at which Cassini posed any danger to humans. Had it suffered a malfunction that caused it to impact, it was estimated by NASA's Cassini final environmental impact study [13] (saturn.jpl.nasa.gov...) that a significant fraction of the plutonium contents of the RTGs would have been dispersed into Earth's atmosphere. A small number of activists continued to protest after the maneuver. Counter-demonstrators from the National Space Society carried signs reading CASSINI IS GO.

en.wikipedia.org...

It will take 67 minutes at light speed for Cassini's signals to cross the 1.4 billion kilometers (870 million miles) to Earth

from this excellent blog full of details:

planetary.org...



[edit on 14-1-2005 by Vajrayana]



posted on Jan, 15 2005 @ 03:42 AM
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Originally posted by _BLiND_
Would it not be funny if all it was, was a landscape that made made intirely out of icecubes?! I know...kinda dumb, am I wrong or is that the moon with the supposed ocean underneith the ice?



Its not Io, Io is a volcanic madhouse, most geologically active body in the sol systems it is I think...

The moon you are talking about is Europa, from the movie "2010"..Now sending a probe there and getting pics from the subterrenean ocean would be phenominal..

As for the fuel the that Cassini used, its a surprise to me that it was plutonium decay-based..never really knew that..:"enlightenment":

Also I thought most of the journey was based on gravity assisted slingshot manuevres, looping around various planets before getting to Saturn..thats why seven years..A straight shortest distance path would IMHO be much faster..the fuel must be used only for powering transmitters/receivers and on-board circuitry..also for the very intricate positioning thrusters..Did Cassini have any??

Donttreadonme, you seem to be pretty popular around here , so its got me curious as to wondering which fora are your usual haunts, must be top dawg around there!!

Assuming that those are your haunts, because by your popularity it seems that you mostly charm rather than haunt..


[edit on 15-1-2005 by Daedalus3]



posted on Jan, 15 2005 @ 12:37 PM
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Originally posted by Vajrayana
Donttreadonme,
Seems wikipedia has got it covered nicely,I can't compete.LOL

Thanks for the info on how the mission is powered. I can see how some would protest the safety of the project, but it doesn't seem that dangerous to the public to me.
As to wikipedia, thanks for pointed that out to me. I always think of wikipedia for people and past events (like looking up information about the movie Troy). I NEVER think to look up current events or scietific stuff.

@ Daedalus3
Such kind words
Not nearly top dawg, but a frequent poster in certain fora. Like Secret Societies.
I u2u'd you with more.



posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 02:38 PM
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hehe..the reason why I got so inquisitive was because your knievity & honesty about the little knowledge you had about the above topic was shall we say refreshing...

From where I come (weps forum) ppl. generally tend to claim to know more than they actually do ( me included at times
)

Keep it up..


will try to follow suit...


and now to get back to the topic at hand...

The sounds of Titan..you guys must've heard the audio files..what do you make of them?..The ones I've heard are only descent audio captures..

which is like calling a cellphone which is being held up on a superbike travelling a 100kph and listening-in to the wind sounds...pretty lame..although at first it sounded like breakers at the beach.. But its only a descent capture..


Anybody got more audio files other than this?After landing maybe?
www.esa.int...
This was courtesy "cmdrkeenkid" a page before on the same thread..



posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 05:23 PM
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I thought it sounded like waves too, but of course it's probably the air.

I really like the radar sounds, how it gets faster and louder: knowing that it's getting closer and closer until, BOOM touchdown. [chris berman]whoooop! [/chris berman]



posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 07:18 PM
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While patiently awaiting ESA's sluggish releases of further Titan images (hopefully unedited w/max resolution )....here are some photos of the craft that is Titan's new resident.







www.esa.int...

[edit on 16-1-2005 by Vajrayana]

[edit on 16-1-2005 by Vajrayana]



posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 07:39 PM
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Yeah the audio does sound eerily like waves breaking...like from a conch shell.



posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 08:43 PM
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Originally posted by Daedalus3
hehe..the reason why I got so inquisitive was because your knievity & honesty about the little knowledge you had about the above topic was shall we say refreshing...


Well, I was very curious. I wanted to know more. I figure, there's probably folks who only lurk at ATS and they want to know too.

I'm not always so sweet IRL

~~~~~~~~~~Back to the regularly scheduled topic.




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