Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Landing on Titan – the new movies

05.05.2006


A little more than one year after the spectacular descent of ESA’s Huygens on Saturn’s giant moon Titan, scientists from the probe’s Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer (DISR) have released two new movies of the descent. These represent the best visual product from the mission obtained so far and the most realistic way yet to experience the landing on a far-away world.



These movies were built thanks to the data collected by DISR on 14 January 2005, during the 147-minutes plunge through Titan’s thick orange-brown atmosphere to a soft sandy riverbed. The data were analysed for months after the landing.

The movie ‘View from Huygens on 14 January 2005’ shows in 4 minutes 40 seconds what the probe actually ‘saw’ within the few hours of the descent and the eventual landing. "At first the Huygens camera just saw haze over the distant surface," said DISR team member Erich Karkoschka, from the DISR team at the University of Arizona and creator of the movies.


"The haze started to clear only at about 60 kilometres altitude, making it possible to resolve surface features as large as 100 metres," he continued. "But only after landing could the probe’s camera resolve little grains of sand millions and millions times smaller than Titan. A movie is a perfect medium to show such a huge change of scale."

The second, more technical movie (called ‘DISR movie’), shows DISR’s 4-hour operating life in less than five minutes, too. A detailed caption to explain how the movie is structured is provided with the video.

The scientists analysed Huygens’ speed, direction of motion, rotation and swinging during descent, represented in this movie. The video also features Huygens’ trajectory views from the south, indication of the large and unexpected parachute movements, the changing direction of view as Huygens rotates along with the relative positions of the sun and Cassini, and a clock to follow the actual sequence of events.

Sounds from a left speaker trace Huygens’ motion, with tones changing with rotational speed and the tilt of the parachute. There are also clicks that clock the rotational counter, as well as sounds for the probe’s heat shield hitting Titan’s atmosphere, parachute deployments, heat shield release, jettison of the DISR cover and touch-down.

Sounds from a right speaker go with DISR activity. There’s a continuous tone that represents the strength of Huygens’ signal to Cassini.

"DISR was a very complicated instrument," Karkoschka said. "It had to be programmed to take its 3500 exposures in a way to get the most science. It had to decide where and when to take exposures."

DISR was designed in the early to mid 1990s, when the best images returned by the Voyager missions showed Titan as a featureless, hazy disk. "We didn’t know the dynamics of Titan’s atmosphere very well, and we didn’t know how fast Huygens would rotate and swing," Karkoschka said. "It was an extremely challenging programming task to make DISR work well under every imaginable condition."

"These movies really demonstrate that the Huygens camera was very well designed for the job," said Jean-Pierre Lebreton, Huygens Project Scientist and Mission Manager at ESA. "They show so many different details of a landscape that covers only a tiny fraction (one thousandth) of Titan’s surface. This makes me dream of what a possible future mission to Titan may return from this wonderful and fascinating Earth-like world", he concluded.

Jean-Pierre Lebreton | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMKVQOFGLE_index_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>