ESA   Home
 Back to Press Kit
10 May 2012
CD-ROM is securely attached to Huygens
Credits: ESA

Technicians attach a CD-ROM to the Huygens probe
During the final phase of the integration activities, a CD-ROM with more than 100 000 electronic messages was mounted on the Huygens descent module. Huygens is currently on its way to Titan onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

Saturn from Titan
Size hi-res: 2693 kb
Credits: ESA

Saturn, as seen from Titan, with Cassini just visible
After entering orbit around Saturn in July 2004, the Cassini spacecraft will release the Huygens Probe in November 2004 for entry and descent through Titan's atmosphere. After the Probe's mission is completed, the Saturn Orbiter will make many close flybys of Titan to continue the global exploration of the moon during the nominal 4 year mission. In this artist's view, Saturn and two other moons are seen through Titan's hazy atmosphere.

Hot shield
Credits: ESA

Landers need heat shields during reentry
The Huygens Probe will enter the upper layers of Titan's atmosphere at 22000 km/h, slowing to about 1400 km/h in less than 2 minutes, thanks to the friction of the Front Shield with the atmospheric gas. The temperature of the gas in the shock wave in front of the heat shield may reach 120000 °C, with the shield itself reaching 18000 °C.

Huygens Probe
Size hi-res: 375 KB
Credits: ESA

Huygens probe descending through Titan's atmosphere
Huygens will be the first spacecraft to land on a world in the outer Solar System. In January 2005, it will land on the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, and the only moon in the Solar System to possess a thick atmosphere. The Huygens data may offer clues about how life began on Earth. Huygens is currently in space, hitching a ride on NASA’s Cassini mission, which was launched by a Titan IVB/Centaur rocket on 15 October 1997. In an artist’s illustration, Huygens is here seen in the lower right corner while approaching the reddish/blue Titan moon below. Cassini is illustrated closer to Saturn.

   Copyright 2000 - 2012 © European Space Agency. All rights reserved.