Huygens Shines for Cassini
December 28, 2004
The European Space Agency's Huygens probe appears shining as it coasts away from Cassini in this image taken on Dec. 26, 2004, just two days after it successfully detached from the Cassini spacecraft. Shown in white boxes are known stars. The probe is the brightest item on the lower right. The other dots are artifacts of the camera. Although only a few pixels across, this image is helping navigators reconstruct the probe's trajectory and pinpoint its position relative to Cassini. This information so far shows that the probe and Cassini are right on the mark and well within the predicted trajectory accuracy. This information is important to help establish the required geometry between the probe and the orbiter for radio communications during the probe descent on January 14.
Topics: Cassini–Huygens, Spaceflight, Exploration of Saturn, Cassini–Huygens timeline, Huygens probe, Spacecraft, Orbiter