First up we have the latest release from the Cassini-Huygens Mission. The folks at NASA and the European Space Agency have put together some of the data obtained from the Huygens Probe that landed on Titan last January. One of the cool things they did was put together 2 Quicktime movies of the Landing site and an artists conception of what the landing on Titan would have looked like.
Huygens Landing Site Movie
This movie shows a quick succession of multiple products of Titan's surface from the Cassini orbiter and the European Space Agency's Huygens probe. It shows Cassini imaging science sub-system images, radar images and visual and infrared mapping spectrometer images of the Huygens probe landing area. The rest of the movie consists of mosaics from the descent imager/spectral radiometer. The camera system on the Huygens probe mimics the descent profile of the probe starting at about 144 kilometers (89 miles), looking eastward throughout. It displays the Titan surface in true color. The sequence ends with a true-color surface image. The radar images of the Huygens landing site were taken by the Cassini orbiter radar instrument during the Titan flyby on Oct. 28, 2005.Huygens Descent Sequence
The artist's concept shows the European Space Agency's Huygens probe descent sequence. The animation shows the Huygens probe's entry, descent and landing, with the descent imager/spectral radiometer lamp turned on at the end.
The probe was delivered to Saturn's moon Titan by the Cassini spacecraft, which is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. NASA supplied two instruments on the probe, the descent imager/spectral radiometer and the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer.
Here's a picture of the real surface at Titan-
And from Japan, we have the latest news on the Hayabusa Asteroid Probe, which successfully landed on the asteroid Itokawa, scooped up a sample of the asteroid and is now on its return flight home. Here's a journal entry from Yasunori Matagowa -Asscociate Executive Director of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency- JAXA.
The Longest Day of “HAYABUSA”
November 27, 2005
Asscociate Executive Director, JAXA
We are sure that Hayabusa has accomplished the great feat to collect sample soils from a celestial body other than moon. I am heartily proud of those brilliant youths of this country. Below is a live coverage of “The Longest Day”.
That day, November 20th, I was studying the data from Hayabusa that flew as far as100km away in safe hold mode from ITOKAWA just like dreaming a nightmare. But Hayabusa team was not even allowed time to dream a nightmare. It took them a whole week by restless work to get it back to the original gate position.
At around 10:00 pm, Nov. 25th, Hayabusa started descending from 1km in altitude. The climax was coming for the 5th time. Each job done was not a joy any longer. They were not in that kind of mood any more. The goal for them was nothing, nothing but to get sample from the surface. The control room was filled up with their determination to fulfill the mission task. Each operation job sensitively swinging from joy to sorrow on each event until only yesterday was being just calmly carried on. No doubt, Japanese space exploration has entered the new stage just in a few days-----was my vivid feeling I had at that moment. Around 6:00 am, Hayabusa, under guidance by optical navigation system so far, was switched to vertical descent phase to maneuver Hayabusa sent down to “MUSES Sea” along with the direction of the gravity. Entering this phase, remote control from ground basically did not work any longer as scheduled. Hayabusa operates itself on its own. Well, this ability was originally given to the vehicle by human beings, though........
Read the rest here.
Pretty cool, huh?