The Huygens Probe is supplied by the European Space Agency and it
carries instrumentation and a robotic laboratory that it will use to
carefully explore the clouds, atmosphere, and surface of Saturn's
largest moon, Titan. It will be released by the Cassini orbiter in
November 2004 and drop into the atmosphere of Titan three weeks
later. It will take many measurements and relay them back to the
main ship during it's descent through the atmosphere.
Following the dropoff of the probe by the main orbiter, the Huygens
probe will manuever and delay its arrival at Titan so it can have
the proper view the descent region. During the descent it will
continuously relay signals and data back to the main orbiter. As it
breaks though the cloud deck, a camera on board will relay back
pictures of the never before seen panorama. Other instruments will
capture the chemistry in hopes to figure out the chemistry of the
The probe mission will be considered complete after the main orbiter
sends the data receieved from the probe successfully twice to Earth
to ensure good data.
Mystery to be Solved by the Probe?
Many scientists think Titan is covered by lakes or oceans of methane
or ethane. The mystery is that the laws of physics say they should
exist, but no evidence from radar studies show evidence of them.
Also, theories of tidal motions suggest Titan should be either all
oceans, or all land, but nothing in the middle. Hopefully, the
Titan probe will solve this mystery.
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