Thursday, January 13, 2005

Yeah, I'm Space Geekin' Lately.............


You don't like it? I apologize, if you would like a refund, please leave a mailing address in the comments below this post and I will be happy to return the unused funds as soon as possible.

Oh wait. This is a free site- You don't like it? Tough Banana's. I think these two latest space posts are freaking cool as hell. So go read the Onion or something if this bothers you.......and on that pleasant note, I give you-

European Space Agency's Huygens Probe Ready for Spectacular Mission to Titan

{there goes Europe, hitching a ride on the US's back AGAIN..-ed.)Mission managers for the European Space Agency's Huygens probe said the spacecraft is on course for its descent to Saturn's mysterious moon Titan on Friday, Jan. 14. The probe, which detached from NASA's Cassini orbiter last month, will be the first object to explore on-site the unique environment of Titan, whose chemistry is thought to be very similar to that of early Earth, before life formed. The data gathered during the probe's 2 1/2 hour descent through Titan's atmosphere will be transmitted from the probe to the Cassini orbiter and then back to Earth.

This map illustrates the planned imaging coverage for the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer, onboard the European Space Agency's Huygens probe during the probe's descent toward Titan's surface on Jan. 14, 2005. The Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer is one of two NASA instruments on the probe.

As of this post, it's about 12 hours until the probe begins its descent..

Titan Descent at a Glance

Signal Travel Time from Titan:
1 hour, 7 minutes
1:51 a.m. PST
Huygens Transmitters On
2:16 a.m. PST
Pilot Parachute Deploys
2:17 a.m. PST
Huygens Begins Transmitting to Cassini
2:32 a.m. PST
Drogue Parachute Deploys
4:34 a.m. PST
Surface Touchdown
6:44 a.m. PST
Cassini Stops Collecting Data
7:24 a.m. PST
First Chance for Data Arrival on Earth

The cool thing about this is that the scientists really aren't sure exactly what the surface of Titan is made of. The probe may float, it may slam in to some solid surface, it may simply plow through some gaseuos cloud until it reaches the core, hell- it may land in some aliens living room. They really have no idea. So the results of the data, if we receive it in complete form, will have enormous implications for future space missions and our ability to analyze satellite data of other planets. It will give us much more of a foundation to work with when determining other planets makeups as well as the history of the makeup of our own planet.

Very exciting stuff. Congratulations to Cal Tech, JPL, and the ESA team!!!

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