Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

More of Titan’s secrets to be unveiled on 21 January

19.01.2005


One week after the successful completion of Huygens’ mission to the atmosphere and surface of Titan, the largest and most mysterious moon of Saturn, the European Space Agency is bringing together some of the probe’s scientists to present and discuss the first results obtained from the data collected by the instruments.



After a 4000 million kilometre journey through the Solar System that lasted almost seven years, the Huygens probe plunged into the hazy atmosphere of Titan at 11:13 CET on 14 January and landed safely on its frozen ground at 13:45 CET. It continued transmitting from the surface for several hours, even after the Cassini orbiter dropped below the horizon and stopped recording the data to relay them towards Earth. Cassini received excellent data from the surface of Titan for 1 hour and 12 minutes.

More than 474 megabits of data were received in 3 hours 44 minutes from Huygens, including some 350 pictures collected during the descent and on the ground, which revealed a landscape apparently modelled by erosion with drain channels, shoreline-like features and even pebble-shaped objects on the surface.


The atmosphere was probed and sampled for analysis at altitudes from 160 km to the ground, revealing a uniform mix of methane with nitrogen in the stratosphere. Methane concentration increased steadily in the troposphere down to the surface. Clouds of methane at about 20 km altitude and methane or ethane fog near the surface were detected.

The probe’s signal, monitored by a global network of radio telescopes on Earth, will help reconstruct its actual trajectory with an accuracy of 1 km and will provide data on Titan’s winds. Early analysis of the received signal indicate that Huygens was still transmitting after three hours on the surface. Later recordings are being analysed to see how long Huygens kept transmitting from the surface.

Samples of aerosols were also collected at altitudes between 125 and 20 km and analysed onboard. During the descent, sounds were recorded in order to detect possible distant thunder from lightning, providing an exciting acoustic backdrop to Huygens’s descent.

As the probe touched down at about 4.5 metres per second, a whole series of instruments provided a large amount of data on the texture of the surface, which resembles wet sand or clay with a thin solid crust, and its composition, mainly a mix of dirty water ice and hydrocarbon ice, resulting in a darker soil than expected. The temperature measured at ground level was about -180 degrees Celsius.

Some stunning preliminary results were presented shortly after the science teams obtained access to their data, on 15 January. After several days of processing and analysis of these results, the scientists will be able to deliver a better view of this strange distant world during a press conference on Friday 21 January at 11:00 CET at ESA’s Headquarters in Paris (rebroadcast at several other ESA establishments).

Participating in this event:

David Southwood
ESA’s Director of Science Programmes

Jean-Pierre Lebreton
ESA’s Huygens Project Scientist and Mission Manager

Marcello Fulchignoni (TBC)
Principal Investigator for the Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument (HASI), from the University of Paris/Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, France

Martin G. Tomasko
Principal Investigator for the Descent Imager and Spectral Radiometer (DISR), from the University of Arizona in Tucson, United States

John C. Zarnecki
Principal Investigator for the Surface Science Package (SSP), from the Open University at Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Guy Israel
Principal Investigator for Aerosol Collector and Pyroliser (ACP), from CNRS, Service d’Aéronomie, Verrières-le-Buisson, France

Toby Owen
Cassini Interdisciplinary Scientist for the atmospheres of Titan and Saturn, from the Institute for Astronomy, Honolulu, United States

The ESA TV service will televise the press conference live via satellite (Eutelsat W1). For transmission details, check http://television.esa.int

NASA-TV will broadcast the press conference across the US and as partner in the Cassini-Huygens mission ensure live streaming. For details, see: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/"

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperation between NASA, ESA and ASI, the Italian space agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, is managing the mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington DC. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter.

Franco Bonacina | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Cassini-Huygens/SEM15Y71Y3E_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>