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Huygens Probe Lands on Titan

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the we-get-signal! dept.

Space 686

WillDraven writes "CNN, NASA and the ESA are reporting that the Huygens space probe has entered the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan after traveling 2.2 billion miles. Pictures from the moon's surface should be available sometime this afternoon" according to the NASA TV schedule. What we know so far is that Huygens landed successfully and sent at least the carrier signal from the surface to Cassini for 90+ minutes, more than expected, and that Cassini has successfully repointed at the Earth and begun relaying the data it received, beginning with test packets. Huygens now sits on Titan, silent forever, while we wait to see whether or how much valuable data Cassini obtained and can send back. Update: 01/14 17:20 GMT by M : So far: they report zero lost packets in the transmission, but one of the two independent data-collection systems is apparently giving some problems. Update: 01/14 21:40 GMT by J : The news is pretty much all good: a very successful mission. Expect to see many photos within hours, but for now apparently only three have been released. Ice blocks or rolling stones -- let the debates begin!

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First Data Recieved via Cassini! (5, Funny)

daveashcroft (321122) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362549)

Straight from the JPL:

01000001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 01110010 00100000 01100010 01100001 01110011 01100101 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01100010 01100101 01101100 01101111 01101110 01100111 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110101 01110011 00100001

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (5, Funny)

REBloomfield (550182) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362571)

I'd have expected:

01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 00100000 01010000 01101111 01110011 01110100 00100001

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (0, Troll)

menkhaura (103150) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362761)

00110001 00100000 00110100 01101101 00100000 01101101 00110000 01110010 00110011 00100000 00110001 00110011 00110011 00110111 00100001

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (4, Insightful)

ip_fired (730445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362813)

Haha.

70 105 114 115 116 32 80 111 115 116 33
F..i...r...s...t......P..o...s...t...!
Sorry for the periods, /. won't let me use multiple spaces, even with ecode.

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (1)

menkhaura (103150) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362838)

01010010 01100101 01100001 01101100 00100000 1101101 01100101 01101110 00100000 01110111 01110010 01101001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 01101001 01110010 00100000 01101111 01110111 01101110 00100000 01100010 01101001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01111001 00100000 01000011 01001111 01000100 01000101 01000011 01010011 00100001

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362575)

I think you have a typo there. It should be 01110111 and not 01100111.

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (1)

bmalia (583394) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362590)

I have translated and it reads: All your base are belong to us

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (2, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362593)

according to my alien decoder ring, it say, "We warned you not to land here - prepare to meet your doom, earthlings."

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (2, Funny)

Pirogoeth (662083) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362649)

Translated, it reads:

(2) Do not eat Titan.

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362674)

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362683)

I think the message actually says:

"Malachi Constant says hello."

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362708)

Curiously, it sent out a long list of stock ticker symbols. We're still trying to work out what they are:

INT HEBI GGI NGT HER EWA SVO ID.A
are the first eight symbols. There's more at the JPL site.

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362731)

Translation - "Error 503 - Service unavailable"

Re:First Data Recieved via Cassini! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362842)

For all of you that can't read binary (who shouldn't be at /. anyway) you can refer to this website for the conversion: http://binary.viderian.com/ [viderian.com]

1st post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362552)

not really

Damn you! (-1, Troll)

NeoTron (6020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362559)

Why did you go tell all the /. readers the Nasa TV url?

Now I won't be able to watch the webcast because it'll be /.'ed.

Could be worse (3, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362605)

Eventually, there will be net-connected satellites and probes: "You insensitive clod. By posting that link, you slashdotted the probe in Uranus."

Congratulations.. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362562)

..to all involved engineers, scientists and all other people who made this possible!

This is a momentous day (-1, Troll)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362563)

For the first time in history, Man has placed an object on the surface of a planet outside the Earth-Moon system.

Re:This is a momentous day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362591)

PhysicsGenius perhaps, but AstronomyIdiot. It's on a moon, not a planet.

Re:This is a momentous day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362598)

You're kidding, right? Venera, Phobos, Vikings, Sojourner, Spirit/Opportunity??? (no, Beagle2 doesn't count ;-) )

Re:This is a momentous day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362600)

not quite. remember all the crap we landed on mars? yes, I know you're trying to be funny. don't quit your day job.

Re:This is a momentous day (0, Redundant)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362601)

What world are you living in ?
What about the mars rover?
The Venus probes in the late 70s?

Re:This is a momentous day (0, Redundant)

kilo242 (774305) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362602)

Not a planet, but a moon.

Re:This is a momentous day (1)

Mukaikubo (724906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362612)

Marvin the Martian is so going to give you a wedgie and steal your lunch money, dude.

Re:This is a momentous day (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362627)

That's complete and utter bullshit, as you probably know yourself. There were many other satellites for example on Mars, Venus, Mercur, ...

Re:This is a momentous day (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362648)

Er...not to be pedantic, and I'm sure the comment was meant in jest, but...

You forgot Mars and Venus, you insensitive clod. ;-)

That said, I can't wait to see pictures myself. That it transmitted for 90 minutes probably means that it landed on a solid surface, rather than sinking into an ocean or something. Hopefully they landed in a nice scenic spot.

Re:This is a momentous day (0, Redundant)

redivider (786620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362676)

I'm no science expert, but I think that's been done before.

Mars Exploration Rover Mission [nasa.gov]

Maybe you meant it's the first time that Man has placed an object on the surface of a moon outside the Earth-Moon system? That may or may not be true (I really have no idea), but it seems more likely.

Re:This is a momentous day (0, Redundant)

Lusa (153265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362682)

For the first time in history, Man has placed an object on the surface of a planet outside the Earth-Moon system.

I know some of the news on slashdot can be a little old due to its nature but this is a record.. decades old news reported!

Hopefully... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362565)

Pictures of breasts.

Re:Hopefully... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362654)

Even better, pictures of beasts. That is of the hydrocarbon-breathing variety.

Re:Hopefully... (1)

Omni-Cognate (620505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362710)

Man, you've got some strange sexual tastes.

Re:Hopefully... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362728)

Better still Beasts with Breasts!!!

I can't wait to get a load of some methane titties.

For the record... (1)

dtolman (688781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362566)

The last updates I've seen indicate that the lander is still sending out a signal - its just that Cassini is no longer in its line-of-sight so there is no one listening :)

First data should be coming in from Cassini any minute now...

Re:For the record... (1)

jamie (78724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362607)

It'll be "silent forever" soon enough :)

I just saw cheering and clapping on the NASA TV feed a few minutes ago, but nobody is saying yet what that means.

Re:For the record... (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362774)

I just heard they were clapping because they are now recieving data from cassini (it was a german control room?).

Re:For the record... (5, Funny)

govtcheez (524087) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362796)

Those guys cheer and clap at everything, though. For all we know, it could be that they're really excited about lunch.

Are we missing out on non line-of-sight data? (1)

dolphin558 (533226) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362623)

The subject line is essentially my entire question: Will we attain the data that is streaming out from Huygens while the orbiter is outside of the line of sight?!

Re:Are we missing out on non line-of-sight data? (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362679)

Yes, unfortunately :-(
As I understand it our ground stations can (just) sense the carrier signal, but cannot resolve the data stream within it.

Re:Are we missing out on non line-of-sight data? (1)

dtolman (688781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362740)

Nope - all we pick up is the carrier signal. We'd need a lot better recievers to pick up the data as well... I suppose they will keep tracking the signal just to see how long it lasts...

Re:Are we missing out on non line-of-sight data? (1)

PhuCknuT (1703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362778)

Transmitters that coule send data back to earth directly from huygens would have been too bulky, so it has to relay through cassini. Unfortunatly that means it only gets 1 shot as cassini does it's flyby.

Re:For the record... (2)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362713)

From http://planetary.org/news/2005/huygens_blog.html/ [planetary.org] it seems that Huygens has been transmitting it's carrier signal for over 5 hours, initially it was monitored from the US until Titan went below the horizon when an Australian telescope picked up.

Re:For the record... (1)

KontinMonet (737319) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362754)

The first lot of data is so-called 'dummy super-data' I understand as Cassini started recording early. Don't expect to see much in the way of image data, BTW, until about 20:30CET about 3 hours from this post.

Re:For the record... (1)

TRS80NT (695421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362828)

...so there is no one listening
Well, no one we know of.

Cloud cover all the way down to the surface? (0)

dolphin558 (533226) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362567)

We might find that the atmosphere extends from the surface on upward?!

Re:Cloud cover all the way down to the surface? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362639)

Gee. I think we call that FOG.

What else we may find... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362798)

Re:Cloud cover all the way down to the surface?

We might find that the atmosphere extends from the surface on upward?!

At long last, through the distance and cloud-cover, the ultimate question shall finally be answered...

To whom does this base belong?
thankyouverymuch,you'vebeenawonderfulaudience,than kyou

Any pics yet? (4, Interesting)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362569)

I know it'll be a while, but I anxiously await the pictures and the sound (yes, they have a mic onboard). I guess it'll mostly be hissing, but it'll be interesting to HEAR a distant planet (one whom has a thick and nasty atmosphere).

Re:Any pics yet? (4, Informative)

dtolman (688781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362599)

Spaceflightnow.com indicates that they are now recieving data - so we could be getting the goods as early as this afternoon...

Re:Any pics yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362694)

whom => which

Re:Any pics yet? (1)

xTown (94562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362715)

Yeah, I'm waiting for the sound myself. It may just be a whoosh, but it's a whoosh from an alien world. Who ever thought we'd hear such a thing?

Lo Fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362725)

Wake me up when we can "hear" a planet in Dolby Digital EX or DTS surround. These phonograph recordings just don't do it for me anymore.

Though, I suppose it is still better than sitting in a box making a hissing sound pretending I am on a distant planet.

Re:Any pics yet? (4, Interesting)

Lusa (153265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362727)

The sound of the impact is the one I'd like to hear, be it squelch, splash or boom.

Re:Any pics yet? (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362825)

distant moon, not planet, but...yeah...looking forward to it myself ;)

Congrats to the ESA (1)

i41Overlord (829913) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362574)

I can't wait to see the results (and hopefully pictures)

Too bad they put such a low resolution imager on it :-(

Re:Congrats to the ESA (1)

Bumjubeo (849737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362665)

The results should be very interesting.

Titan's atmosphere, a murky mix of nitrogen, methane and argon, resembles Earth's more than 3.8 billion years ago. Scientists think the moon may shed light on how life began. [cnn.com]

This will be very interesting to see, I wonder how long it will be observing for, and if supposing they believe in the evolution theory...can watch life form.

Re:Congrats to the ESA (1)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362692)

and if supposing they believe in the evolution theory...can watch life form

if they have several million years of battery power...

CRASH.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362579)

People of Titan, we come in peaces, pieces....

Regarding the permanent silence of Huygens... (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362581)

Is this because of something along the lines of the harsh environment breaking the probe down? Battery life?

While I do think it's nifty, in comparison, you have to love the Mars rovers' abilities to continue functioning so we can explore as we learn, rather than having everything pre-planned.

Re:Regarding the permanent silence of Huygens... (3, Informative)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362640)

Two reasons:
1.) Its antenna is only strong enough to send signals to cassini, and cassini only 'see' Huygens for so long before it sets over the Titan planet.
2.) Its battery life is very short (because they knew they'd only have such a short time to transmit the data to cassini).

The planet IS harsh (like -290F), but its built to survive it long enough to talk to Cassini until it sets.

Re:Regarding the permanent silence of Huygens... (1)

dtolman (688781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362678)

Well that was a bit of hyperbole in terms of the article writer...

The probe could still be transmitting now - but the problem is that the Cassini probe is the only one close enough to recieve it - and it only had line-of-sight with the Huygens Lander for a few hours. By the time they re-establish line of sight again (I have no idea when) - they landers batteries will be long run down - they were only designed to run a few hours once atmospheric entry began.

Re:Regarding the permanent silence of Huygens... (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362688)

On mars, you have relativly civil temperaturs. You can use batteries,ect.
On Titan, you are at -160 C IIRC. No chemical batteries will work at that temperature, nor most sensors or computational parts (you need the electrons of the doped atoms in the conduction band).
So its a matter of isolation and heat capacity.

Re:Regarding the permanent silence of Huygens... (5, Funny)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362789)

Battery life. The probe, if I remember correctly, has five LiSO2 batteries that are its sole power source (along with some 1W radioactive heaters simply to maintain its temperature).

The trip to Titan took three weeks, and there was at least some electrical activity on the probe that whole time (I know it had a timer set to "wake it up" for the descent). Then the probe kicked into high gear for the descent, running all its systems off the batteries.

It was expected to go dead sooner than it did, but the lost data probably wouldn't have told us much -- after it had been sitting on the surface for a few minutes, it had probably already reported everything interesting.

The lost Huygens trasmissions:

Yep, still cold.

My batteries are getting kinda low.

Still cold. This rock is hurting my ass.

God damned this rock. It's poking right into my radiothermal heater.

Holy shit it's cold here.

Batteries about to give out. Hey, is anybody listening?

Heeeellllo, anybody there? Cassini? Can you hear me?

Great, I'm going to die with a fucking rock in my ass and nobody listening to me.

Re:Regarding the permanent silence of Huygens... (2, Insightful)

SilenceEchoed (840918) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362837)

You also have to take into consideration when the Cassini was launched, October 12th, 1997, whereas the Mars rovers were launched in the summer of 2003. They put the best ideas and instruments available for the job on the probe at the time. 6 years of additional technology, and better climates on Mars, are the reason for their successes.

Another issue has to do with launch vehicles. At the time Cassini was put up, we didn't have the same delivery vehicles (aka, rockets) that we do today, and thus the overall system was constrained in weight and size to a greater extent than the Mars rovers were.

Regardless, the probe is there, and it's alive, unlike some other probes I recall (Beagle 1 and 2) attempting to fly through their intended targets, rather than land on them. I'll be interested to see what we can assertain from this little outing, and whether or not it spurs more numerous probes in the future.

as long as we don't go to ALL the moons (5, Funny)

VAXGeek (3443) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362586)

all these worlds are yours, except Europa.
attempt no landings there.

Re:as long as we don't go to ALL the moons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362666)

Good advice. Nothing but europatrash there.

Re:as long as we don't go to ALL the moons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362685)

I love it when I see old unit inspace 2.2 billion WHAT?

MILES ?

what is that? leght... yes but?
related to the size of earth!

love it.

Re:as long as we don't go to ALL the moons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362751)

Uhh, Europa is a moon of Jupiter, not Saturn. And that stupid joke was already made an infinite number of times after the various Jovian missions. We don't need more of it.

Re:as long as we don't go to ALL the moons (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362851)

Wrong Planet. Europa is a moon of the OTHER Gas Giant, ya know the one with the Big Red Spot. I swear the educational system these days...

This is very exciting (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362588)

This is very exciting. I hope the probe lands in the sea, because hearing the sound of a extra-planetary sea would be a real treat.

-d

Huygen's sea landing: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362776)

Bloop.

gurgle.

gurgle.

Zzzzztt!

data? (1)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362603)

hmm, there was some cheering some minutes ago on nasa tv. seems like theyre receiving some data.

Re:data? (2)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362664)

at least cassini turned and is transmitting.

Re:data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362771)

*modded as flamebait*

How can someone flamebait themselves??? The parent and grandparent poster are the same person!

This all might not have happened (stupid hippies) (5, Insightful)

BTWR (540147) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362606)

Space travel has not progressed like it should have in the decades following the amazing progress of the 1960s. Hell, it hasn't progressed like the exploration of the New World in the 1500s.

I feel that it is because we have become completely and hopelessly terrified of danger. Many men and women died (yes, tragically) in those eras exploring the great unknown. But without their sacrifice, we would never have been able to accomplish what we have (please no "settling the new world = genocide" lectures).

Apollo 1, The Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia's losses were all tragic. And I am NOT saying that their loss should be shrugged off as "eh, someone had to die to explore space." What I am saying is that we as humans needed to grow and explore space, much as the Europeans needed to grow and explore beyond their continent. When there was a tragic event in colonial exploration (Jamestown), those people learned from their mistake and tried again and usually succeeded. When we fail today, we usually cower up and shut down all exploration for a half-decade or so.

Hell, look at how these stupid hippies tried to stop Cassini from ever occuring [animatedsoftware.com] . They were so afraid of the 0.001% chance of Cassini crashing into Earth (which itself had a fraction of a percent chance of actually contaminating the planet with any plutonium) that they wanted the entire mission shut down.

Scared people like this, afraid to take chances are what almost kept us from everything glorious we're learning today and everything we will learn from Cassini tomorrow. And most scary, these people and all others who are afraid of taking chances have kept us from learning from all the cancelled missions and missions that will never be in the future because it's always "better safe than sorry" to them.

Re:This all might not have happened (stupid hippie (5, Funny)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362719)

How dare you smite down our righteous cause? We are about to start a campaign to have the sun shutdown, due to HARMFUL rays which it sends out into space and earth, and to have DI-HYDROGEN-MONOXIDE BANNED. Also, we feel that it would be a prudent move to restrict movement of butterflies in Papua New Guinea, as they might cause hurricanes.

Where's my plastic bubble?

A fortune in stuff out there... (4, Insightful)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362613)

The first entrepreneurs able to get into space efficiently have a large supply of trophies and memorabilia available for salvaging!

I hope that the homesteaders on Earth's moon have the integrity to set up a barrier around the Apollo 11 landing site, that is one patch of tracks in the dust and debris that I would consider sacred.

Bob-

Re:A fortune in stuff out there... (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362706)

Perhaps in some distant, twisted future, those tracks and debris will be more than a mere historical site, but historic grounds much like we have on Earth today.

Imagine, thousands of years into the future as humanity has conquered space travel, a grandfather teaching his grandchildren about the early days of space, and how countries raced to the moon only to leave a few footprints on the surface for eternity and leave. The children will probably laugh and giggle, much as our children laugh and giggle at our stories of Noah's Ark and such.

Re:A fortune in stuff out there... (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362746)

"historic grounds" should be "holy grounds" bah.

Re:A fortune in stuff out there... (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362779)

I'm sure they'll have a nice fence around it. And you can get souvenirs at the McDonald's next door to it. :-)

Re:A fortune in stuff out there... (1)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362824)



I have no doubt that eBay will one day be plagued with Sojourner rover hoaxes.

kulakovich

Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362630)

an extra 1.5 hours of battery life then claimed... NASA/ESA should go into building laptops.

Minor explanation (5, Informative)

Cyclotron_Boy (708254) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362637)

They didn't stop recording data because Huygens went silent. Rather, Cassini had to turn to transmit its load of data. Cassini had to turn for a number of reasons ranging from the azimuth and elevation of the lander (now it is more than a probe...) with respect to the horizon, to the maximum data storage capability of Cassini itself. Not that the poster said anything wrong, it was just misleading. I believe Huygens was still transmitting at least carrier verified by Colorado (not sure which radiotelescope picked it up in the US) after Cassini was tasked to turn away. We just couldn't listen much longer, and Huygens' batteries weren't supposed to do more than 4.5 hours anyway (IIRC).
-F

Re:Minor explanation (1)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362821)

Some sort of power-saving mode would have been good, then, essentially conserving batteries until Cassini (or some future probe) is in a position to listen.

Re:Minor explanation (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362852)

...and Huygens' batteries weren't supposed to do more than 4.5 hours anyway (IIRC).

The designers of these probes and landers are really outdoing themselves. Look at the two landers on Mars that are WELL past their guaranteed time. I wonder if they purposely make them work well beyond their guaranteed time just to 'show off' or something.

We get signal! (I think) (1)

MutantEnemy (545783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362647)

I'm watching the NASA broadcast and just a few minutes ago everyone started cheering. I heard someone say they were receiving "Chain B" but not "Chain A" - these appear to be redundant instruments or something.

Seems to be going quite well...

Huygens probe might last for days (1)

dolphin558 (533226) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362668)

It is possible that when Cassini is in position to speak to Huygens the lander will still be operational? Is the lifetime of the lander a function of the surface temperature or the belief that it might land in liquid? My guess is the latter.

GO ESA! (3, Informative)

segal_loves_pandas (849758) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362675)

This part is an European Space Agency project. You can find out more at: http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/cassini_huygens.asp There is a link to the ESA/PPARC webcast there too. (PPARC is th British Research Council for Particle Physics and Astronomy.

Too bad (1)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362691)

I wish it included a little rover like the ones on Mars, with an amphibious design (in case it landed in liquid something or other) and nuclear powered, since there isn't enough energy from the sun to operate at that distances. Oh well, hopefully I will live to see it.

I am anxiously awaiting the data like a kid on Xmas morning. Titan is one of the most facinating places in the solar system. I can never forget the first time I laid eyes on it in my little 8" telescope. (Actually, a good pair of binoculars should suffice if you are blessed with dark skies, look for a faint reddish "star" close to saturn.

Excellent! (1)

Antonymous Flower (848759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362693)

But what we're really anxious to know is: how does it smell?

Re:Excellent! (1)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362736)

Just use Farnsworth's Smelloscope (al la Futurama) and see for yourself!

Pronounce Huygens (5, Interesting)

awhoward (108214) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362699)

If you want to know how to correctly pronounce Huygens, go to this web site [harvard.edu] .

Jumping the Gun (1)

yuriwho (103805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362701)

check with #space on irc.freenode.net to know when this really is confirmed.

Y

Re:Jumping the Gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362801)

I think 1 #space plug was enough.

In Soviet Russia (-1, Troll)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362709)

Titanic probe lands in Uranus!

Another bad piece of editorship because... (2, Insightful)

KontinMonet (737319) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362722)

...this guy said [slashdot.org] : "While NASA's Cassini works flawlessly, the ESA's Huygens probe will deliver superior science just like Beagle. It, too, will fail."

You know who you are...

What Horrors! (0, Troll)

HexaByte (817350) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362735)

Why oh why did we have to do this? We put our Earth microbes contaminated landing craft on Titan, and no one thought of the effect this would have on the Titans?

Did no one ever read the "War of the Worlds"? We have surely wiped out their kind forever! Couldn't we just stay home and trash our own planet? Oh the horror, the horror!

On the bright side, cool pics are expected!

expensive data... (2, Interesting)

dynamo_mikey (218256) | more than 9 years ago | (#11362748)

Wow, that was expensive for so little data. So now Huygens is just a very expensive popcicle?

Won't somebody think of the children???? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11362770)

Who gives a shit, we should have spent the money on real problems, like world hunger, and starving children in uganda. We should have spent the moeny rescuing tsunami victims!!!! WHY DID THEY SPEND ALL THIS MONEY THIS WEEK ON THIS RATHER THAN SAVING POOR PEOPLE IN INDONESIA?!??
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