October 12, 2012
Touching Down On Titan
The touchdown of ESA’s Huygens probe on Titan in January 2005 is relived in this animation. The sequence is shown in two speeds. The initial impact of the probe with the surface creates a small, 12-cm-deep hole and throws up dust into the atmosphere. The probe then bounces out and slides 30-40 cm before wobbling to a rest. Vibrations in the probe’s instruments were recorded for nearly 10 seconds after impact.
The motion was reconstructed by combining accelerometer data from the Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument and the Surface Science Package with photometry data from the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer.