Huygens’ 8 year anniversary

14 January 2013
Eight years ago today, ESA’s Huygens bounced, slid and wobbled its way to rest on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan, the first time a probe had touched down on an alien world in the outer Solar System.

The animation was created using real data recorded by Huygens’ instruments, allowing us to witness this historical moment as if we had been there!

The animation takes into account Titan’s atmospheric conditions, including the Sun and wind direction, the behaviour of the parachute (with some artistic interpretation only on the movement of the ropes after touchdown), and the dynamics of the landing itself.

Even the stones immediately facing Huygens look just like those seen on the photograph of the landing site returned from the probe, which is revealed at the end of the animation.

Split into four sequences, the animation first shows a wide-angle view of the descent and landing followed by two close-ups of the touchdown from different angles, and finally a simulated view from Huygens itself – the true Huygens experience!