Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Titan’s First Close-Up

27.10.2004


Cassini-Huygens, the joint NASA/ESA/ASI space mission has successfully made a close encounter with Saturn’s moon, Titan. This was confirmed in the early hours of this morning as the first information and pictures were beamed back via NASA’s Deep Space Network tracking station in Madrid, Spain. As anticipated, the spacecraft came within 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) of Titan’s surface.

At the time, Cassini was about 1.3 billion kilometres (826 million miles) from Earth. Numerous images, perhaps as many as 500, were taken by the visible light camera and were being transmitted back to Earth. It takes 1 hour and 14 minutes for the images to travel from the spacecraft to Earth. The downlink of data will continue through the night into the early morning hours. Cassini project engineers will continue to keep a close watch on a rainstorm in Spain, which may interrupt the flow of data from the spacecraft.

Professor Carl Murray from Queen Mary, University of London, a member of the Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem team, has been taking a look at the first images, "Titan’s veil has been lifted yet again and we have been treated to a spectacular array of images from this bizarre moon. The return of this data from such a peculiar and distant world is another remarkable success for Cassini. When the images are combined with data from the other instruments on Cassini we will have a much more complete understanding of what the Huygens probe can expect when it lands in January."



The flyby was by far the closest any spacecraft has ever come to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, perpetually drenched in a thick blanket of smog. Titan is a prime target of the Cassini-Huygens mission because it is the only moon in our solar system with an atmosphere. It is a cosmic time capsule that offers a look back in time to see what Earth might have been like before the appearance of life.

Mark Leese, is a member of the Huygens team at the Open University, who are involved in the Science Surface Package (SSP) and the Huygens Atmospheric Instrument (HASI). “The Open University Huygens team are looking forward to what these images and other data may tell us about the surface of Titan, in anticipation of the Huygens mission on January 14th 2005. Then we hope that the UK built Surface Science Package will send back the first measurements from the surface of Titan.”

He adds, “The combination of images, spectrometer measurements and RADAR data from this close flyby should help to prepare us for the mission ahead. In addition, Cassini’s measurements of the atmosphere should confirm that the Titan atmosphere model used to design the probe entry system is correct.”

The Huygens probe, built and operated by the European Space Agency, is attached to Cassini; its release is planned on Christmas Day. It will descend through Titan’s opaque atmosphere on January 14, 2005, to collect data and touch down on the surface.

UK scientists are playing significant roles in the Cassini Huygens mission with involvement in 6 of the 12 instruments onboard the Cassini orbiter and 2 of the 6 instruments on the Huygens probe. The UK has the lead role in the magnetometer instrument on Cassini (Imperial College) and the Surface Science Package on Huygens (Open University).

Gill Ormrod | alfa
Further information:
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/events/titana/index.cfm
http://www.pparc.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays
18.08.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>