Future Exploration

Huygens Probe

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.

Probe Sequence

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 early Earth.

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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