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Donger
01-14-2005, 12:10 PM
For the space geeks among us...

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/01/14/huygens.titan/index.html

(CNN) -- Huygens successfully transmitted its first packet of irreplaceable data from Saturn's moon Titan this morning as scientists at the European Space Agency's operations center in Germany erupted in applause.

"We are the first visitors to Titan and the scientific data we are collecting now shall unveil the secrets of this new world," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, director general for ESA, in Darmstadt, Germany.

He called it a fantastic success for Europe and the spirit of international collaboration that brought together 19 nations, including the United States for the Cassini-Huygens mission.

Huygens' batteries -- designed to last just a few minutes after touchdown -- continued to power the probe's transmitter for more than two hours after landing. The data is now streaming to Earth, via the satellite Cassini orbiting Saturn, as a worldwide network of radio telescopes captures it.

Eager scientists, some who have dedicated 25 years to the project, are poring over the data, translating ones and zeros into images and measurements of the moon's atmosphere. The first pictures of Titan's surface will be released by ESA about 2:45 ET.

"This data is for posterity," said David Southwood, director of science for ESA. "It's for mankind....Scientists are going to argue as we piece together our place in the universe, of how we came to be. It's just the beginning for our science teams."

Earlier in the day, radio telescopes confirmed the probe survived reentry, successfully deployed its three parachutes and landed on the moon's icy surface. Cassini received information until it passed beyond the moon's horizon and out of contact. Now Cassini has turned toward Earth and is sending the data to scientists.

They hope all the data will survive transmission uncorrupted, said Bob Mitchell, program manager for the Cassini-Huygens mission at NASA.

"What we know is the probe survived reentry.... descended the atmosphere, contacted the surface and transmitted for at least an hour and half," he said. "What we don't know is how did the instruments work, how did Cassini work and do we have the data intact."

Huygens reached the surface of Saturn's moon Titan on Friday around 7:45 ET, reported elated scientists from the European Space Agency, standing ready to analyze long-awaited data from the cloud-shrouded moon.

"We have a signal. We know that Huygens is alive meaning the dream is alive," said Jean-Jacques Dordain director general for ESA which designed Huygens. "This is already an engineering success and we will see, later this afternoon, if this is a scientific success."

The saucer-shaped probe has completed the final hours of its 2.2 billion-mile mission to Titan, an enormous moon larger than the planet Pluto.

"It's going to be the most exotic place we've ever seen," said Candice Hansen, a scientist for the Cassini-Huygens mission. "We've never landed on the surface of an icy satellite. We know from our pictures that there are very different kinds of geological processes."

The Cassini-Huygens mission is an unprecedented $3.3-billion effort between NASA, the European Space Agency, which designed the probe, and Italy's space program to study Saturn and its 33 known moons. The two vehicles were launched together from Florida in 1997.

"The mission is to explore the entire Saturnian system in considerably greater detail than we have ever been able to do before: the atmosphere, the internal structure, the satellites, the rings, the magnetosphere," said Cassini program manager Bob Mitchell at NASA.

The Huygens probe, about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, spun silently toward Titan after it detached from the Cassini spacecraft on December 24. Cassini will remain in orbit around Saturn until at least July 2008.

The mission "will probably help answer some of the big questions that NASA has in general about origins and where we came from and where life came from," Mitchell said.

Titan's atmosphere, a murky mix of nitrogen, methane and argon, resembles Earth's more than 3.8 billion years ago. Scientists think the moon may shed light on how life began.

Finding living organisms, however, is a remote possibility. "It is not out of the question, but it is certainly not the first place I would look," Hansen said. "It's really very cold." A lack of sunlight has put Titan into a deep-freeze. Temperatures hover around -292 F (-180 C) making liquid water scarce and hindering chemical reactions needed for organic life.

New discoveries
The mysteries of Saturn, the sixth planet from the sun, have always enticed researchers. Scientists are perplexed why Saturn, a gas-giant composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, releases more energy than it absorbs from faint sunlight. Titan is also the only moon in the solar system to retain a substantial atmosphere, one even thicker than Earth's.

The 703-pound, battery-powered Huygens probe parachuted through Titan's clouds of methane and nitrogen for two-and-a-half hours, sampling gases and capturing panoramic pictures along the way.

Huygens hit the upper atmosphere 789 miles (1,270 km) above the moon at a speed of about 13,700 mph (22,000 km/h). A series of three parachutes slowed the craft to just 15 mph (24 km/h). Chutes and special insulation protected Huygens from temperature swings and violent air currents. Strong winds -- in excess of 311 mph (500 km/h) -- buffeted the craft.

Its sensors deduced wind speed, atmospheric pressure and the conductivity of Titan's air. Methane clouds and possibly hydrocarbon rain was analyzed by an onboard gas chromatograph. A microphone listened for thunder.

Three rotating cameras took panoramic views of the moon and a radar altimeter mapped Titan's topography. A special lamp illuminated the probe's landing spot to help determine the surface composition.

Engineers had been confident that Huygens and its suite of six sensitive instruments would survive the descent.

"From an engineering standpoint, I'm very confident in a positive outcome," said Shaun Standley, an ESA systems engineer for Huygens at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. "We've been over this again and again for the last three years fine-tuning this."

Cassini crossed Saturn's rings without mishap in June 2004 and produced the most revealing photos yet of the rings and massive gas-giant. A problem with the design of an antennae on Cassini almost scrapped Huygens' mission, but engineers altered the spacecrafts' flight plans to resolve the transmission problem.

|Zach|
01-14-2005, 12:18 PM
Cool story...thanks for the heads up.

Bearcat
01-14-2005, 12:48 PM
The saucer-shaped probe has completed the final hours of its 2.2 billion-mile mission to Titan, an enormous moon larger than the planet Pluto.


:eek:


That's a pretty big number.... they should put it in prespective... something we can all relate to. Say something like "that's like traveling around the earth 88,000 times".

:p

Hydrae
01-14-2005, 01:01 PM
That is so cool that it landed succesfully! I am recording the show tonight on the Science channel so I can check it out when I get home from work tonight.

I wonder how long those batteries will last in that -180 degree weather. :hmmm:

Miles
01-14-2005, 01:03 PM
Wonder if that Tralfamadorian robot is still there?

Dave Lane
01-14-2005, 01:10 PM
Cool can't wait to see the pics from this.

Dave

Lzen
01-14-2005, 01:12 PM
That is awesome. I can't wait to see the images.

I wonder how long those batteries will last in that -180 degree weather. :hmmm:

I would imagine this has something to do with the temperature.

Huygens' batteries -- designed to last just a few minutes after touchdown -- continued to power the probe's transmitter for more than two hours after landing.

Hydrae
01-14-2005, 01:18 PM
That is awesome. I can't wait to see the images.



I would imagine this has something to do with the temperature.


Yeah, on the Science channel last night they said that they were hoping for 3 hours of life from the batteries before the cold zapped them. Too bad it didn't land real close to some volcanically active area that might have kept it alive longer.

ZepSinger
01-14-2005, 01:22 PM
Cool can't wait to see the pics from this.

Dave

The first pictures have just started coming in, and they are fairly amazing..

http://www.scaretactics.com/pics/robot.jpg

Donger
01-14-2005, 01:24 PM
CNN's got a picture on their website.

Hydrae
01-14-2005, 01:34 PM
Here is the shot they have on the European Space Agencies site (different from the one on CNN and NASA.gov):

http://www.esa.int/images/landing01_L.jpg

Dave Lane
01-14-2005, 01:34 PM
Yeah just one I want more

Dave

Bob Dole
01-14-2005, 01:35 PM
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm

Donger
01-14-2005, 01:36 PM
Please don't tell me these asshats spent millions of dollars on this thing, and couldn't spring a few extra bucks on a color camera...

Bob Dole
01-14-2005, 01:58 PM
Please don't tell me these asshats spent millions of dollars on this thing, and couldn't spring a few extra bucks on a color camera...

It was taken with the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer.

Donger
01-14-2005, 01:59 PM
It was taken with the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer.

Ah. Does it have a optical camera onboard?

|Zach|
01-14-2005, 02:05 PM
Please don't tell me these asshats spent millions of dollars on this thing, and couldn't spring a few extra bucks on a color camera...
I was watching a few mins of some coverage of the event. I found out there is actully a NASA channel.

Aside from that a guy explained that the images they have right now are very raw and as time goes on in the next few days and weeks they will be processing the images to show the real detail. He didn't say it outright but he made it sound like after this process there would be color also...

Donger
01-14-2005, 02:06 PM
I was watching a few mins of some coverage of the event. I found out there is actully a NASA channel.

Aside from that a guy explained that the images they have right now are very raw and as time goes on in the next few days and weeks they will be processing the images to show the real detail. He didn't say it outright but he made it sound like after this process there would be color also...

Cool. Thanks.

Yeah, the NASA Channel's great, especially for shuttle launches.

ROYC75
01-14-2005, 02:13 PM
"This data is for posterity," said David Southwood, director of science for ESA. "It's for mankind....Scientists are going to argue as we piece together our place in the universe, of how we came to be. It's just the beginning for our science teams."

The mission "will probably help answer some of the big questions that NASA has in general about origins and where we came from and where life came from," Mitchell said.

Titan's atmosphere, a murky mix of nitrogen, methane and argon, resembles Earth's more than 3.8 billion years ago. Scientists think the moon may shed light on how life began.




:hmmm: I wonder if they thing God lives there ?

jiveturkey
01-14-2005, 02:23 PM
After visiting the Indian buffet this afternoon my moon has been transmitting hostile gases in the direction of my co-workers.

Lzen
01-14-2005, 02:47 PM
Here is the shot they have on the European Space Agencies site (different from the one on CNN and NASA.gov):

http://www.esa.int/images/landing01_L.jpg


Doesn't look much different than Mars in this pic.

jspchief
01-14-2005, 02:52 PM
What a waste of tax money.

Donger
01-14-2005, 02:53 PM
What a waste of tax money.

Really? Why do you think that?

jspchief
01-14-2005, 03:07 PM
I just don't think space exploration has yielded any real world benefits. We're spending billions of dollars so we can get pictures that make us say "cool". Name the last thing that space exploration provided that had any real use on earth.

Hearing stories about the multi-million dollar satelite that crashed because one goup people used metric measurements while the other used english has soured me on what I already thought was a giant drain on tax money.

I believe that science that doesn't have real world applications should be privately funded.

Donger
01-14-2005, 03:11 PM
I just don't think space exploration has yielded any real world benefits. We're spending billions of dollars so we can get pictures that make us say "cool". Name the last thing that space exploration provided that had any real use on earth.

Hearing stories about the multi-million dollar satelite that crashed because one goup people used metric measurements while the other used english has soured me on what I already thought was a giant drain on tax money.

I believe that science that doesn't have real world applications should be privately funded.

Like that computer you're typing on?

Or that smoke detector that warns you of fire?

There are plenty more.

jspchief
01-14-2005, 03:19 PM
Like that computer you're typing on?

Or that smoke detector that warns you of fire?

There are plenty more.

You must have reading comprehension problems, because you missed where I said "real world applications" several times.

I won't pretend to be an expert, I'll just let you explain to me how a picture of saturn's moon helps develop computers and smoke detectors.

Donger
01-14-2005, 03:26 PM
You must have reading comprehension problems, because you missed where I said "real world applications" several times.

I won't pretend to be an expert, I'll just let you explain to me how a picture of saturn's moon helps develop computers and smoke detectors.

You don't think that the modern personal computer has "real world applications?"

Rausch
01-14-2005, 03:28 PM
You must have reading comprehension problems, because you missed where I said "real world applications" several times.

I won't pretend to be an expert, I'll just let you explain to me how a picture of saturn's moon helps develop computers and smoke detectors.

Tang was worth it...

Hydrae
01-14-2005, 03:29 PM
You don't think that the modern personal computer has "real world applications?"


No, he thinks that there are no new inovations that will come about because of this specific journey. After all, before we spend billions on something we should have a expectation of a profit in return. You know, like the huge profits we are reaping from Iraq. :)

Bob Dole
01-14-2005, 03:29 PM
I just don't think space exploration has yielded any real world benefits. We're spending billions of dollars so we can get pictures that make us say "cool". Name the last thing that space exploration provided that had any real use on earth.


KEEP ****ING DOUBTING TEH TANG, BITCH!

Donger
01-14-2005, 03:31 PM
No, he thinks that there are no new inovations that will come about because of this specific journey.

Other than learning more about our solar system, perhaps not.

However, he said, "Name the last thing that space exploration provided that had any real use on earth," not specific to this mission.

morphius
01-14-2005, 03:33 PM
What if the real use of these missions is to give us reasons and the ability to leave Earth, where we are one comet/asteroid away from not being.

jspchief
01-14-2005, 03:34 PM
You don't think that the modern personal computer has "real world applications?"

Let me put it in crayon font so it will sink it for the slow kids. I don't think we needed to land on the moon to develop computers. Computers may be a by-product of the space program, but the advancement of space science has nothing to do with our ability to invent computers (unless there's moon rocks hidden in this thing). You don't need a picture of Saturn to invent smoke detectors.

If you want to spend tax money on science that makes things better for mankind, that's one thing. I've yet to see anything space related that's improved mankind though. If all those geniuses were being paid to invent computers and smoke detectors instead of rockets, we may have had this stuff 20 years earlier.

Donger
01-14-2005, 03:36 PM
Let me put it in crayon font so it will sink it for the slow kids. I don't think we needed to land on the moon to develop computers. Computers may be a by-product of the space program, but the advancement of space science has nothing to do with our ability to invent computers (unless there's moon rocks hidden in this thing). You don't need a picture of Saturn to invent smoke detectors.

If you want to spend tax money on science that makes things better for mankind, that's one thing. I've yet to see anything space related that's improved mankind though. If all those geniuses were being paid to invent computers and smoke detectors instead of rockets, we may have had this stuff 20 years earlier.

Well, that's better. If you'd been more precise with your language, you'd have gotten no argument from me.

You asked a question and I gave you an answer. No need to get pissy about it.

Valiant
01-14-2005, 03:45 PM
yeah why wonder about the universe??? I mean by that logic we would have never found out earth is not the center of the solar system... they are after knowledge, some people do not want to pay the price i guess..

Bob Dole
01-14-2005, 03:47 PM
No need to get pissy about it.


Of course there is. He doesn't have any Tang.

morphius
01-14-2005, 03:53 PM
yeah why wonder about the universe??? I mean by that logic we would have never found out earth is not the center of the solar system... they are after knowledge, some people do not want to pay the price i guess..
I do always find it kind of sad when people live too much in the now and don't look to the future at all. I mean, why send sputnik into space, surely there is nothing there that can help us down here now. Oh, well excpet for 1000's of satalites that have went up since that control communications, television, gps, weather, etc...

jspchief
01-14-2005, 03:55 PM
yeah why wonder about the universe??? I mean by that logic we would have never found out earth is not the center of the solar system... they are after knowledge, some people do not want to pay the price i guess..

I guess I put my price on "useful" knowledge. I may want to know why my dick curves to the left, but that doesn't mean I think billions in tax dollars should be spent finding out.

There's a lot of scientific research going on in the world that has real world implications and it relies solely on private funding. Meanwhile, a portion of every penny I earn gets used because someone wants to know what it looks like on saturn's moon. It's neat. It's interesting. Yet I don't feel like I'm getting much return on the dollar.

Rausch
01-14-2005, 03:58 PM
If you want to spend tax money on science that makes things better for mankind, that's one thing. I've yet to see anything space related that's improved mankind though. If all those geniuses were being paid to invent computers and smoke detectors instead of rockets, we may have had this stuff 20 years earlier.

And if you weren't speninding so much on alcohol, smokes, and sports teams we might have cured some killer disease...

You never know what we could find or take from these missions...

Hydrae
01-14-2005, 04:01 PM
I guess I put my price on "useful" knowledge. I may want to know why my dick curves to the left, but that doesn't mean I think billions in tax dollars should be spent finding out.

There's a lot of scientific research going on in the world that has real world implications and it relies solely on private funding. Meanwhile, a portion of every penny I earn gets used because someone wants to know what it looks like on saturn's moon. It's neat. It's interesting. Yet I don't feel like I'm getting much return on the dollar.


Heck, if private industry would get off it's butt and get behind the idea of opening up space we would get there a lot faster too.

I am all for the privatization of space. But NASA is there for exploring, not making a profit. Once private industry gets on the bandwagon, we will be having tourists flying by Saturn and not needing to rely on robotic drone spaceships. :thumb:

jspchief
01-14-2005, 04:04 PM
And if you weren't speninding so much on alcohol, smokes, and sports teams we might have cured some killer disease...

You never know what we could find or take from these missions...
Difference being, my drinking and sports (no smoking) are funded solely by me.

You might have a point if I came to your house and took a five out of your wallet every friday for a couple of 40's of Colt 45. I don't what know we'll find out there. I also don't know what ahyone will find in a cancer research lab. But at least at the cancer lab, I understand the need.

I don't know what percentage of government science funding goes to NASA. But I am willing to bet it's probably more than a lot of areas that could have more of a real world impact.

Donger
01-14-2005, 04:16 PM
Of course there is. He doesn't have any Tang.

ROFL

Wasn't aware of that benefit.