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The Huygens Probe is the ESA-provided element of the joint NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and its largest moon, Titan. Huygens is an entry probe that will descend through Titan's atmosphere under a parachute system to the moon's surface. The probe is being carried to Titan on board the Cassini Saturn orbiter. Huygens is dormant during the journey to the Saturnian system and for the first six months in orbit around Saturn, with the exception of six-monthly in-flight checkouts to verify the health of the payload and to perform periodic maintenance and calibration of the instruments.

The scientific objectives of the Huygens mission are to perform detailed measurements of the physical properties, the chemical composition and the dynamics of Titan's atmosphere and to characterise the surface of the moon along the descent ground track and near the landing site.

Huygens is a sophisticated robotic laboratory equipped with six scientific instruments provided by Principal Investigator institutions.

Huygens Instruments


Principal Investigator


Aerosol Collector and Pyrolyser

G. Israel,
Service d'Aéronomie, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Verrières-le-Buisson, France


Descent Imager and Spectral Radiometer

M. G. Tomasko,
University of Arizona, Tucson, USA


Doppler Wind Experiment

M. K. Bird,
Universität Bonn, Germany


Gas Chromatograph and Mass Spectrometer

H. Niemann,
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, USA


Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument

M. Fulchignoni,
Université Paris VII, Paris, France


Surface Science Package

J. C. Zarnecki,
Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Last Update: 07 December 2005

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