In October 1997, NASA will launch Cassini Huygens, a joint project developed with ESA which will provide a detailed study of the Saturnian system. The Cassini spacecraft compromises the NASA-designed Saturn Orbiter and ESA's Huygens probe.
Huygens is a fully-automatic laboratory fitted with six scientific instruments. Its mission is to explore Saturn's largest moon, Titan, which has a hydrocarbon-rich atmosphere with a complex system of methane-nitrogen photochemistry. Titan's atmosphere is thought to be similar to that of the Earth just after the formation of the solar system.
This short, highly animated film details the mission, along with a brief description of the Saturnian system using photographs taken by Voyager 1. An outline is given of how Huygens is scheduled to reach Saturn in June 2004, coasting towards Titan before making its final descent by parachute. During this descent, the physical characteristics and chemical composition of Titan will be analysed; ultimately, the probe will reach the moo