Huygens instruments

The Huygens Probe en route to Titan

To gather as much science as possible during its historic mission to the Saturnian system, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft is equipped with 18 instruments, 12 on the Cassini orbiter and six on the Huygens probe.

Many of these sophisticated instruments are capable of multiple functions, and the data that they gather will be studied by scientists worldwide.

Aerosol Collector and Pyrolyser (ACP) will collect aerosols for chemical-composition analysis. After extension of the sampling device, a pump will draw the atmosphere through filters which capture aerosols. Each sampling device can collect about 30 micrograms of material.

Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer (DISR) can take images and make spectral measurements using sensors covering a wide spectral range. A few hundred metres before impact, the instrument will switch on its lamp in order to acquire spectra of the surface material.

Doppler Wind Experiment (DWE) uses radio signals to deduce atmospheric properties. The probe drift caused by winds in Titan's atmosphere will induce a measurable Doppler shift in the carrier signal. The swinging motion of the probe beneath its parachute and other radio-signal-perturbing effects, such as atmospheric attenuation, may also be detectable from the signal.

Gas Chromatograph and Mass Spectrometer (GCMS) is a versatile gas chemical analyser designed to identify and quantify various atmospheric constituents. It is also equipped with gas samplers which will be filled at high altitude for analysis later in the descent when more time is available.

Huygens Atmosphere Structure Instrument (HASI) comprises sensors for measuring the physical and electrical properties of the atmosphere and an on-board microphone that will send back sounds from Titan.

Surface Science Package (SSP) is a suite of sensors to determine the physical properties of the surface at the impact site and to provide unique information about its composition. The package includes an accelerometer to measure the impact deceleration, and other sensors to measure the index of refraction, temperature, thermal conductivity, heat capacity, speed of sound, and dielectric constant of the (liquid) material at the impact site.

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