Thursday, January 25, 2007

Huygens Data Yet Yields Surprises


Hard to believe, but it has been two years since the Huygens probe descended to the surface of Titan, the product of a wildly successful joint mission between the European Space Agency and NASA.

The amount of data retrieved by the little probe has run the gamut from surface and atmospheric temperature readings to actual sounds produced by the surface winds. And the data is still being analyzed for more information.

Lakes of methane, polar clouds of ethane and cryo-volcanic eruptions all play a part in Titans topography, now better understood by planetary scientists. Cassini, the satellite which delivered the Huygens probe, continues to weave its way throughout the Saturnian system providing even more information about the curious moon. It will make its next flyby in just three days, coming within 2,000 miles of the surface.

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