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Huygens Probe Enters Titans Atmosphere (from ATSNN)

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posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 12:35 PM
Any estimate on when we might be privy to some of the info

Eager scientists, some who have dedicated 25 years to the project, are poring over the data, translating ones and zeros into images and measurements of the moon's atmosphere. The first pictures of Titan's surface will be released by ESA about 2:45 ET.

I, for one, can't wait to see an image!

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 01:13 PM

Originally posted by Centurian
Eager scientists, some who have dedicated 25 years to the project, are poring over the data, translating ones and zeros into images and measurements of the moon's atmosphere. The first pictures of Titan's surface will be released by ESA about 2:45 ET.

not to be a killjoy but the ones and zereos will be handled by comps man!!

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 01:19 PM
Timeline of events:

6.51 Timer triggers power-up of onboard electronics
Triggered by a pre-set timer, Huygens's onboard electronics power up and the transmitter is set into low-power mode, awaiting the start of transmission.

11.13 Huygens reaches 'interface altitude'
The 'interface altitude' is defined as 1270 kilometres above the surface of the moon where entry into Titan's atmosphere takes place.

11.17 Pilot parachute deploys
The parachute deploys when Huygens detects that it has slowed to 400 metres per second, at about 180 kilometres above Titan's surface. The pilot parachute is the probe's smallest, only 2.6 metres in diameter. Its sole purpose is to pull off the probe's rear cover, which protected Huygens from the frictional heat of entry.
2.5 seconds after the pilot parachute is deployed, the rear cover is released and the pilot parachute is pulled away. The main parachute, which is 8.3 metres in diameter, unfurls.

11.18 Huygens begins transmitting to Cassini and front shield released
At about 160 kilometres above the surface, the front shield is released.
42 seconds after the pilot parachute is deployed, inlet ports are opened up for the Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer and Aerosol Collector Pyrolyser instruments, and booms are extended to expose the Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instruments.
The Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer will capture its first panorama, and it will continue capturing images and spectral data throughout the descent. The Surface Science Package will also be switched on, measuring atmospheric properties.

11.32 Main parachute separates and drogue parachute deploys
The drogue parachute is 3 metres in diameter. At this level in the atmosphere, about 125 kilometres in altitude, the large main parachute would slow Huygens down so much that the batteries would not last for the entire descent to the surface. The drogue parachute will allow it to descend at the right pace to gather the maximum amount of data.

11.49 Surface proximity sensor activated
Until this point, all of Huygens's actions have been based on clock timers. At a height of 60 kilometres, it will be able to detect its own altitude using a pair of radar altimeters, which will be able to measure the exact distance to the surface. The probe will constantly monitor its spin rate and altitude and feed this information to the science instruments. All times after this are approximate.

12.57 Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer begins sampling atmosphere
This is the last of Huygens's instruments to be activated fully. The descent is expected to take 137 minutes in total, plus or minus 15 minutes. Throughout its descent, the spacecraft will continue to spin at a rate of between 1 and 20 rotations per minute, allowing the camera and other instruments to see the entire panorama around the descending spacecraft.

13.30 Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer lamp turned on
Close to the surface, Huygens's camera instrument will turn on a light. The light is particularly important for the 'Spectral Radiometer' part of the instrument to determine the composition of Titan's surface accurately.

13.34 Surface touchdown
This time may vary by plus or minus 15 minutes depending on how Titan's atmosphere and winds affect Huygens's parachuting descent. Huygens will hit the surface at a speed of 5-6 metres per second. Huygens could land on a hard surface of rock or ice or possibly land on an ethane sea. In either case, Huygens's Surface Science Package is designed to capture every piece of information about the surface that can be determined in the three remaining minutes that Huygens is designed to survive after landing.

15.44 Cassini stops collecting data
Huygens's landing site drops below Titan's horizon as seen by Cassini and the orbiter stops collecting data. Cassini will listen for Huygens's signal as long as there is the slightest possibility that it can be detected. Once Huygens's landing site disappears below the horizon, there's no more chance of signal, and Huygens's work is finished.

16.14 First data sent to Earth
Cassini first turns its high-gain antenna to point towards Earth and then sends the first packet of data.
Getting data from Cassini to Earth is now routine, but for the Huygens mission, additional safeguards are put in place to make sure that none of Huygens's data are lost. Giant radio antennas around the world will listen for Cassini as the orbiter relays repeated copies of Huygens data.

All times above are "Earth Received" time - i.e. 67 minutes after the actual events have taken place at the spacecraft.

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 01:21 PM
Well... I just read how they'll release the pictures at about 12:45 my time. I'm currently in my Web Design class, which, with my great luck, is released at 12:42. Looks like I'll have to wait til 8 or so tonight to see the pictures... Can't Wait!

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 01:41 PM
CNN is going to show pictures in a minute they just said

[edit on 14-1-2005 by ghoulardi]

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 01:57 PM

Originally posted by PanzerDiv
Well, when they scanned it they were suprised to see that there were few craters this means that it is a "living" envoriment. But to say there is life on titan in complex form is really ridiculous! But i believe there are single organism's there 8), We will just have to wait and watch!

I'm sorry panzer but I think you may be reading too much into the term "living environment".
Titan has a dynamic surface. We're not sure what the process is for sure, but something is filling in or covering craters so that they are difficult to see. We believe the surface is being covered in a tar like substance of hydrocrabons from precipitation.
Just adding my own 2 cent, if Titan experiences significant tidal effects from saturn and its fellow moons the dark spots could be from tides piulling the hydrocarbon seas all over the moon's surface.

The jury is still out on life- it's just a distant hope, although it is probably among our best hopes and extremely exciting.

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 02:06 PM
First picture looked like rivers and ocean, with good beachfront property to boot.

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 02:08 PM

yeah heres the first picture

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 02:10 PM
Are going to get close surface images from this probe like mars, or just descent shots?

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 02:18 PM
Any geologists around? I wonder if those "canals" were caused by lava?


posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 02:19 PM

Originally posted by Daedalus3

not to be a killjoy but the ones and zereos will be handled by comps man!!

That was straight from the CNN article

So neat! Looks just like river systems on earth.

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 02:22 PM
Life on Titan?

Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is a mysterious place. Its thick atmosphere is rich in organic compounds. Some of them would be signs of life if they were on our planet.

How do they form on Titan? Will they help us to discover how life began on Earth?

Titan's atmosphere is mostly nitrogen but there are also methane and many other organic compounds. Organic compounds form when sunlight destroys methane. If sunlight is continuously destroying methane, how is methane getting into the atmosphere?

On Earth today, it is life itself that refreshes the methane supply. Methane is a by-product of the metabolism of many organisms. On Earth, the simplest biological sources, such as those associated with peat bogs, rice fields and ruminant animals, continuously supply fresh gas to replace that destroyed by oxidation. Could this mean there is life on Titan?

Titan is not a pleasant place for life. It is far too cold for liquid water to exist, and all known forms of life need liquid water. Titan's surface is -180°C. According to one exotic theory, long ago, the impact of a meteorite, for example, might have provided enough heat to liquify water for perhaps a few hundred or thousand years.

However, it is unlikely that Titan is a site for life today. But scientists are still currently puzzled by the amount of methane that persists in Titan's atmosphere. Could there be oceans of methane on or under the surface?


posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 03:09 PM

Originally posted by ghoulardi

yeah heres the first picture

See the "dot" in the upper left hand corner? Near one of the flows? Kind of symetrical isnt it? I know its early for this type of stuff, but compared to the rest of the image, it really stands out.

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 03:13 PM
Lets just stick to on ethread on the huygens thing shall we now guys??
It'll be much easier to assimilate more thataway..

Im posting my notes from the other thread to fill in ...

yes the drainage-like rivulets have been quite a pleasant surprise to the concerned scientists who were afraid that they may be faced with a perpetual fog/mist like situation whihc now doesn't seem to be the case..
The final post descent pics have not yet been put up..I supp they will take some time but the rivulets one is taken at about 16km above the surface during the Huygens descent..this would be just after the heat re-entry phase and maybe before the parachute deployment phase..

A note on the 1st pic:

The massive dark region to the left could be a sea of sorts some experts are speculating or a marsh but whats extremely strange to me is that NONE of the rivulets seem to terminate/originate in that mass to the left..which is very strange because one would expect something like that if the rivulets and the 'sea' were of the same fluid..very strange..

Also someone was asking about the quality of pics...
The Cassini imager has a max resolution of 20 metres I htink ..heard it on CNN.. Wonder If we get UV color pics or only B&W..
And yeah about the ones and zeroes I read it in the article too..still its a incorrect staement nonetheless!!
Imagine scientists deciphering assembly mahcine level code and formulating pixel patterns from that..!!

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 03:19 PM
New pic:

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 04:57 PM
"For unknown reasons, NASA, which operates Cassini, the satellite orbiting Saturn that relayed Huygens' signal, removed an image of Titan's surface from its Web site. ESA had not released that image. No official information was available about the image from Titan's surface."

Does anybody know if this was literally removed, or if it just wasn't/isn't displayed ?

posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 05:22 PM
is there a NASA site about thios probe like the mars ones???


posted on Jan, 14 2005 @ 05:50 PM

Originally posted by MKULTRA

Any geologists around? I wonder if those "canals" were caused by lava?


You might find some answers here The BBC are showing a programme now called stardate, the link you want is ask the astromoners, a panel of scientists who are answering questions anbout Huygens probe.

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