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  Cassini-Huygens at Saturn: Questions, comments (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Cassini-Huygens at Saturn: Questions, comments
randy
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posted 11-24-2004 04:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DChudwin:
An incredible animation of Cassini flying around Saturn and through its rings can be found here.
Great picture!

Blackarrow
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posted 11-24-2004 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone care to guess about the black area? It looks for all the world like a lake. There has been speculation about methane lakes on Titan. Or what about an area of hydrocarbon sludge? It really doesn't look like different areas of surface colour, the sharp edge looks exactly like a shore-line.

Scott
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posted 12-14-2004 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is amazing. These are surface features on Titan visible from space? I never expected that. The Voyager images gave me the impression it was completely cloud-covered, like Venus, and you couldn't see any surface features.

Can't wait for the Huygens probe!

spaceuk
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posted 12-14-2004 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The latest images are like looking over "the shoulders of Titan...".

I think that Titan will turn out to be very much like Io's surface but with an atmospheric attitude! I think the surface will be hardish volcanics covered with a dusty layer - we can just about see volcanoes with ash tales (suggesting a particular wind direction?) and what appears to be a few impact craters. (There are some image defects which have to be taken into account.) The dark areas I think are likely be igneous materials like basalts.

But, whatever surface turns out to be, its all good stuff so far.

Whose delivering Huygens - Santa?

FFrench
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posted 12-14-2004 06:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaceuk:
Whose delivering Huygens - Santa?

Cassanta?

spaceuk
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posted 12-26-2004 04:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is an image of Huygens having been released taken by Cassini some time after release on JPL Cassini site.

Philip
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posted 12-26-2004 08:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
More on Huygens from ESA.

spaceuk
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posted 12-30-2004 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I read the news of the Huygen probe departing from Cassini spacecraft on Christmas Day it reminded me that Christmas Day was also the day of Sir Isaac Newton's birth in 1642 AD.

The images of Huygen some distance from Cassini seemed to evoke Newton's First Law exquisitely for me :

"A body (Huygen) continues in its state of motion in a straight line unless it is subjected to a force (Titan's atmosphere)."

Note: His birthday on Christmas Day was by the pre-Gregorian calendar. If corrected for 'today's calendar' it would be 4th January 1643.

spaceuk
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posted 01-09-2005 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a heads-up for viewers able to receive BBC-2 TV. They are running a one hour live special from ESA Darmstadt on Friday 14th January 2005 from 2330 GMT on the BBC-2 channel (the 'Horizon' programme channel for our Euro viewers!).

spaceuk
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posted 01-09-2005 06:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is the current timeline for descent:
Huygens Descent and Landing
14th Jan 2005

0907 GMT - Arrival of Huygens probe at entry interface at an altitude 1270 km. Data acquisition starts.

1130 GMT - Huygens probe reaches Titans surface. Data acquisition continues. Huygens data transmitted to Cassini orbiter. Once all the Huygens probe data has been recorded on the orbiter it is transmitted to Earth.

1344 GMT - The orbiter will stop collecting probe data and point back to Earth. Complete data sets transmitted to JPL (via NASA Deep Space Network (Madrid and Canberra ground stations) repeated several times - and forwarded to ESOC. It takes approx. 66 minutes for the radio signal to reach Earth.

1514 GMT First telemetry received at JPL

1521 GMT First data received at ESOC from JPL.

1500 GMT PPARC Media briefing opens Reprise ESA TV transmissions, direct links to UK scientists at ESOC, live relay of ESA/ESOC Media briefing

1600/1700 GMT ESA/ESOC Media briefing: first data information

1900 GMT - PPARC Media briefing closes

2200 GMT, the first image possibility, subject to full data receipt and processing. If available then ESA press release and posted to ESA website.

15th January

1000 GMT ESA/ESOC Press briefing: comprehensive first results and images.

NB: All ESA press briefings will be available on ESA TV and are subject to confirmation on ESA TV web pages.

Philip
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posted 01-10-2005 01:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for pointing this out! Fingers crossed...

KenDavis
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posted 01-10-2005 02:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KenDavis   Click Here to Email KenDavis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have any thoughts on what might occur 'live'?

I ask because I remember watching a live programme on the Giotto encounter with Halley's Comet back in 1986 and it was the most boring programme imaginable. As the images took weeks to process and enhance so any details could be visible, all we saw was a grey screen. No-one knew anything about the state of the probe, and the presenters had no idea what to say or how to manage the viewers expectations.

Hopefully things have moved on since then, but the same limitations are going to apply. Even if signals are recieved back what will we actually see?

Am I being pessimistic?

P.S. I'll still probably watch

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-10-2005 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From The Space Review...

Live from another world
by Daniel Fischer

Nothing remotely like the Voyager, Pathfinder, or MER experience is about to repeat when Huygens lands on Titan, according at least to the current plans by the European Space Agency. The incoming raw images for the DISR cameras will only be seen by the scientists directly involved in the project: They will work on them and release them only hours later, after much processing of contrast and resolution. A few glimpses of the DISR images may be shown some hours after they arrived, but the majority of them, plus all the other data collected during the descent, are only to be released during a news briefing the next day. Now it is understandable that the European Space Agency wants to release only the best material, but to deprive the public of the chance to experience the mission as it happens (or happened) is a major blunder.

spaceuk
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posted 01-11-2005 04:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If Huygens and Cassini operate as advertised then I think we should see 'live' images being flashed on the giant mission control screens at Darmstadt. They may be 'grainy' but at least we may get a glimpse before more advanced image processing?

Are JPL doing any presentations on the day?

spaceuk
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posted 01-12-2005 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been reading Christiaan Huygen's 'Treatise On Light' and the following extract seems appropriate for Friday's upcoming events:
The effects of which refractions are very remarkable; for by them we often see objects which the rotundity of the Earth ought otherwise to hide; such as islands and the tops of mountains when one is at sea.
Extracted from "On The Refraction of Air" by Christiaan Huygens, 1629-1695.

If you replace the word 'Earth' by the word 'Titan' then this could well be an eery and uncanny prediction of what we may 'discover' on Friday 14th January 2005 when the 'Huygen's space probe' descends through the orange-brown clouds and murkiness of the Saturnian moon Titan!

Philip
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posted 01-12-2005 02:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting weblink offering a look at the Cassini-Huygens mission.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-13-2005 11:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA TV/webcast of ESA TV begins at Friday, Jan. 14 at 3 a.m. Eastern (12 a.m. Pacific) and continues throughout the day as follows:

3-3:30 a.m. - Live Coverage and Commentary "Cassini Turns Towards Titan - Interruption of Radio Contact" - JPL/ESA

5-6:30 a.m. - Live Coverage and Commentary "The Huygens Probe Enters the Atmosphere of Titan" - JPL/ESA

6:30-7 a.m. - JPL Commentary - JPL (Mission Coverage)

7:30-8 a.m. - ESA News Briefing "Mission Status" - JPL/ESA

8:30-9:15 a.m. - ESA Commentary on Huygens Probe Mission - JPL/ESA (Mission Coverage)

9:30-10 a.m. - JPL Commentary - JPL (Mission Coverage)

10-10:30 a.m. - ESA Commentary "Cassini Turns Back to Earth - Data Transmission Begins" - JPL/ESA

10:30-11:15 a.m. - JPL Commentary - JPL (Mission Coverage)

11:15 a.m.-12 p.m. - Huygens Probe News Briefing - JPL/ESA (Mission Coverage)

1 p.m. - NASA Update with Sean O'Keefe - KSC

2:45-3:15 p.m. - ESA Commentary "Presentation of First 18 Images from Titan" - JPL/ESA (Mission Coverage)

5-5:30 p.m. - ESA Commentary and "Additional Images from Tital & B-Roll" - JPL/ESA

5:30-6 p.m. - JPL Commentary - JPL (Mission Coverage)

spaceuk
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posted 01-14-2005 01:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm up very early on this some what frosty morning here in the UK. It is not yet 6am on the 14th January 2005. It is still dark. Dawn is yet to break. I can just make out the planet Saturn over in the far west through the scattered clouds. It's a magnificent view.

But, of course, today - Friday the 14th January 2005 - is an important day for one of Saturn's many moons - the moon of Titan. If I was observing it through my telescope I would be able to see that Saturn was tilted and showing off its beautiful rings and that the moon Titan would be about 0.008 AU and at an angular separation of just under 2 minutes from Saturn. It is just over 8 AU from my observing site here on Earth.

And, today Titan it will receive its first visitor from Earth - the Huygen's probe.

It is also an "important" day for myself and my family as we eagerly await news later this afternoon - when the first signals arrive - that we hope to hear that the Huygen's probe successfully descended through Titan's atmosphere and survived to land onto its surface. For, aboard the probe, myself and family members have our names on the CD disk that is attached to the probe as its descends. It seems aeons ago on the 20th January 1997 - since I applied and successfully had our names accepted by ESA. Originally, Huygens was intended for a late 2004 descent to Titan but flight plan adjustments made today the descent day.

While reviewing the flight plan for the descent of Huygen's through the atmosphere of Titan later this morning (GMT time) I began to wonder what music I would have played to the Titanian's (if they existed!) from a loud speaker had it been attached to Huygen's as it descended? [see note below]

There are the classical offerings from composers like Beethoven, Mozart and even Brahms! But, in the end, I decided I would have played a more modern offering - the orchestral and bagpipe version of Paul McCartney's "Mull of Kintyre". The swirl of the bagpipes to me seems an ideal choice for the swirling murky mists of Titan as well as the mists of the Mull of Kintyre. If you have ever heard bagpipes being played in dusk in the hills and valleys of Scotland the haunting sounds never seem to 'leave' you! The sound seems to carry for miles and miles and seems to be 'magically mixed' with the misty air. The sounds will reverberate off nearby hills and 'swish' amongst the heather's on the slopes. So, for me, it is this music that I would have played on the descent.

Incidentally, just for the hell of it, I will play my CD version of 'Mull of Kintyre' later today here on Earth as a substitute.

Other contenders in my mini list were orchestral versions of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" or Andrew Lloyd Webber's orchestral version of "Phantom of the Opera"!

Note: There is some music aboard Huygen's but it will only be played if the Titanian's find it!

spaceuk
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posted 01-14-2005 02:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a good site for info on today's descent onto Titan.

Rodina
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posted 01-14-2005 02:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Titan, ho!

Thanks to all of our European cS'ers for footing the bill on your part of this mission. I can't wait to see what we find.

spaceuk
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posted 01-14-2005 04:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good news! Confirmation - just a few minutes ago - that the Cassini spacecraft has orientated its antenna towards Huygens - which at this time is now on its descent through Titan atmosphere on its way to surface.

First signals expected mid-afternoon GMT at JPL then passed to ESOC.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 01-14-2005 04:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First pictures from Titan expected to appear during a programme on BBC2 tonight at 23:30GMT. Fingers crossed...

Joe Davies
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posted 01-14-2005 04:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Davies   Click Here to Email Joe Davies     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would be great if a little green alien was waving back at the camera

spaceuk
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posted 01-14-2005 06:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The first signals from Huygens on its descent have been relayed and received back on Earth via Cassini in last few minutes.

spaceuk
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posted 01-14-2005 06:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Coverage on news channels (TV and radio) is very good so far over here in UK.

The normally staid news readers at BBC TV News were excited this morning!

That's got to say something for this flagship mission.

spaceuk
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posted 01-14-2005 06:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The signal was actually via a radio telescope here on Earth and not via Cassini - its confirmation signals due later.

Still good news though showing Huygens working so far.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-14-2005 10:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From CNN:
Huygens lands on Saturn moon
By Michael Coren
Huygens has arrived.

The probe landed on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan this morning around 7:45 ET, reported elated scientists from the European Space Agency, who are eagerly awaiting data about the cloud-shrouded moon.

"We have a signal. We know that Huygens is alive meaning the dream is alive," said Jean-Jacques Dordain director general for ESA which designed Huygens. "This is already an engineering success and we will see, later this afternoon, if this is a scientific success."

From Spaceflight Now's Mission Status Center:
Huygens survives landing on Titan
1510 GMT (10:10 a.m. EST)
"This is clearly an engineering success and we know the probe has been successfully entering the atmosphere, has been descending on the parachute to the surface," said Jean-Pierre Lebreton, ESA's Huygens project scientist.

"But at this moment we cannot say more. I mean, we have not seen the data. What we have seen is a tone, a signal, which was indicating that the probe was transmitting but we have not seen any real data yet. So I would like to wait a bit more to say whether we have a successful mission or not."

The first Huygens data via the Cassini telemetry playback is expected in about an hour.

spaceuk
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posted 01-14-2005 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For our 'cousins' outside Europe, here are some of the 'live' images - in a Adobe PDF slide show form - we've been watching this morning (GMT) in UK on BBC and ITV tv channels. The best - of course - is still to come.

The BBC TV coverage has been excellent throughout - so far this morning and lunchtime. The ITV coverage is more sparse is crisp and to the point.

Scott
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posted 01-14-2005 11:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was wondering: What does the time designation "CET" mean, as in "11:25 CET"? Thanks.

Aztecdoug
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posted 01-14-2005 11:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I will go out on limb and say that is Central European Time, or GMT +1.

Scott
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posted 01-14-2005 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's probably it. Thanks Doug!

gliderpilotuk
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posted 01-14-2005 12:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They are confirming that Huygens has transmitted data up to Cassini. ESA was just bemoaning the lack of ground stations, so I hope we're up for something GREAT in 6 or 7 hours time.

..and this is NOT the first European success. It comes on top of Mars Express, SMART 1, and hopefully Rosetta and Venus Express. I just wish my country (UK) played a more substantial role.

If anything, the proven success of European missions should lead to more transatlantic cooperation.

mmmoo
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posted 01-14-2005 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mmmoo   Click Here to Email mmmoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

This is the first picture from Huygens released by ESA. It was taken at an altitude of 16 km as Huygens made its descent. Credit: ESA/NASA TV

Scott
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posted 01-14-2005 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Latest pictures.

Scott
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posted 01-14-2005 03:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First image released from the surface!

Philip
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posted 01-14-2005 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those are really amazing images!

spaceuk
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posted 01-14-2005 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agree thoroughly with comments made above. The first lander image has been shown and it is a rocky plain - almost Mars MER like images.

Gordon Reade
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posted 01-14-2005 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is fantastic! Just Fantastic!

spaceuk
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posted 01-14-2005 07:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just finished watching the live interviews with PI and science experimenters based out at ESOC Darmstadt on the BBC2TV programme Stardate.

Here are some early data results they gave us:

  • Huygens is rock solid on surface tilted about 20 degrees.

  • Marti - of Imaging team - says he seen about 10 images only so far. Its taking longer to derive pictures as they need to correlate the image data with coordination data to make sure they have right material.

  • Because of loss of data channel only about half of the originally planned 750+ images will be available - about 320-350.

  • Color images could be several days away - maybe even 1-2 week away he said as they have to correlate with the spectrometer readings.

  • The penetromter worked. It had a very high spike to begin with but then dropped and 'levelled out' - suggesting the Pi said something like 'wet sand'.

  • The upper atmosphere temperature was seen at about -200 degree centigrade.

  • The surface temperature reading suggests about -180 degree centigrade.

  • Four nitriles have been detected so far.

  • The image team working through tonight to try and get some more images available for tomorrow (Saturday).
All the above is early data and will no doubt be refined as the days,weeks and months go by but at least it seems to be confirming initial expectations.

collshubby
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posted 01-14-2005 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for collshubby   Click Here to Email collshubby     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is absolutly amazing! I hope the success of this mision leads to more landings in Titan and other planets/moons, such as Europa.


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