Huygens descent

This Friday, the Huygens lander begins descent onto Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. The craft wakes up at 5.44 (CET) and finally deploys its parachute at 10.10. During the descent, which will take around 137 minutes, the sensors will be operational. They will sample the atmosphere and take images of the surface. Touchdown occurs at 12.27 at about 5 metres per second. What it lands on is unknown. Will it splash, crash or squelch? Assuming it survives, it will keep collecting data until 14.37 when it can no longer see the Cassini craft. Finally at 15.07, Cassini sends the data back to Earth with its high-gain antenna. We will have to wait a full 67 minutes for the radio waves to get from Saturn back to the Earth; it takes some time even at the speed of light. Perhaps, at 16.14 you might see some celebrations on the webcam at ESA's Operations Centre.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 12th Jan 2005 (19:47 UTC) | Permalink
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