Huygens: the top 10 discoveries at Titan
Huygens hitched a ride to the Saturn system during an epic, seven-year voyage attached to NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The final chapter of the interplanetary trek was a 21-day solo cruise toward the haze-shrouded moon. Plunging into Titan's atmosphere, the probe survived the hazardous 2 hour 27 minute descent to touch down safely on Titan's frozen surface.
|The Huygens experience: a simulation of the final part of Huygens' descent through Titan's atmosphere before it landed on the surface. Click here for video details. Credit: Animation: ESA-C. Carreau/Schröder, Karkoschka et al. (2012). Image from Titan's surface: ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona|
Huygens continued to transmit back to Earth for another 72 minutes before contact was lost with Cassini as it dipped below the horizon. The stream of data provided a unique treasure trove of in situ measurements from the planet-sized satellite which scientists are still mining today. In the following articles we present 10 important results from the pioneering mission.