Huygen's lands on Titan

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by BrianShort, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    No pictures yet, but the Hugen's probe should have sucessfully landed on Titan. Earth based telescopes have picked up Huygen's carrier signal, indicating that at the very least, the backshell was removed from the craft, and the main parachute deployed.

    Brian
     
  2. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    I can't wait to see the pictures it beams back to Earth!

    Moe.
     
  3. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    Watching NASA TV from the either a NASA or ESA control center. I assume it's the ESA control center because of all the non-American accents [​IMG] Anyway, they were just cheering, so apparently something good happened, but there is no commentary to go along with the video. I'm guessing they received an early signal from Cassini.
     
  4. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS
    EXCEPT EUROPA.
    ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE.
    USE THEM TOGETHER.
    USE THEM IN PEACE.

    [​IMG]

    Really really can't wait to see the pictures [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Wrong planet, Ricardo. (And, for that matter, wrong movie, too!)
     
  6. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    I just had to bait you, sir [​IMG] Sorry :b
     
  7. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    JPL's Saturn website must be getting hammered. All I'm getting are errors when I try to load it.
     
  8. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    http://www.spaceflightnow.com has good coverage of what is going on (just click on the "mission status center" link)

    They are receiving the Huygen data playback from Cassini. The lander had two redundant data relays and there appears to be a problem with one of them, but they are getting data on the other. They are expecting the first science results (and maybe even some pictures) to be announced sometime after 2:45 pm EST.

    What with the mind boggingly successful Mars Rovers, the ESA Mars Express orbiter, NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter, Cassini and now the apparently successful Huygens landing this is a great time for Space Science.

    I've been following the Cassini mission since before it was launched, its been a long wait but it looks like it was worth it!
     
  9. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    It was Saturn in the book, Mr. Briggs [​IMG]
     
  10. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    If I put on my woo-woo hat, the first pic looks like a beach... [​IMG]
     
  11. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    It sounds like it IS a beach according to Space.com. I'm sure we'll learn more later, and hopefully see more images. It's too bad they couldn't use a higher resolution imager, but this whole thing was probably designed over a decade ago. I'd imagine we'll get a Titan orbiter and a lander in a couple decades, maybe with an amphibious rover [​IMG]

    Brian
     
  12. MichaelSloan

    MichaelSloan Stunt Coordinator

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    Very exciting event, yet a little dissapointing. This is spoken about in the press like it's the only time anyone is ever going try it. If it were up to me, I'd send a rover or two. It's not because of this alone that I'd want to send a rover, but I saw a documentary hosted by Patrick Stewart a few years ago in science class which claimed that a previous probe detected organic compounds on Titan. I kid you not. It seemed like a pretty legitamite documentary to me. I must emphasise how badly I'd like see more sattelites sent there.
     
  13. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    Not the only time, but it will be a very long time before another Saturn probe is sent. I don't know how often there are "windows" available for Saturn launches, but it still takes a long time to design, build, and test missions like this, then it takes a long time to fly to Saturn since it's so far away. If they do send one, my guess is it will include an orbiter component that can take very detailed radar images of the whole moon, and a lander component. Would be cool if it could rove as well.

    Also, organic doesn't mean life, it just means compounds containing carbon (I hope someone with more chemistry knowledge than me will correct this statement if I'm wrong).
     
  14. MichaelSloan

    MichaelSloan Stunt Coordinator

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    They should figure out how to make those probes travel faster.
     
  15. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    That brings up a question... What's the fastest space travel speed attained so far, and what is the top speed we couled possibly achieve with current technology, if money were no object?
     
  16. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Looks the same as the shots from Mars. Lots of dirt and rocks.
     
  17. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    The limiting factor is how much mass we can lift into Earth orbit. Cassini is a big heavy probe so only a small proportion of the total weight put into the initial Earth orbit is fuel. With a small amount of fuel available they had to use a slower trajectory that relied on stealing momentum from Venus (twice), Earth and Jupiter (the so-called "gravity slingshot") to eventually make it out to the orbit of Saturn.

    To get there faster they would need to orbit a greater total payload with the additional mass being more fuel. The trade off is that the fuel just gets the science payload to its destination quicker, but doesn't result in better data. The mission planners want to maximize the science payload and are willing to trade time for the more/better science resulting from a bigger payload.

    They are developing new technologies such as ion propulsion that (hopefully) will result a greater amount of acceleration being derived from a given mass of fuel compared to existing chemical boosters. This doesn't necessarily mean that future probes will get there faster, just that a smaller proportion of what is launched is fuel.

    If/when the cost per pound to low Earth orbit is significantly lower and we can lift really big payloads into orbits it might make sense to lift more fuel compared to the payload so they could get the data back faster than now.
     
  18. Stacey

    Stacey Stunt Coordinator

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    It's too bad they couldn't use the missions to the International Space Station to take the parts into space, assemble them there and then send them off. Not needing to use as much fuel to escape Earths gravity would make it easier to send these probes faster, or at least send more of them.
     
  19. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Stacey, the ISS is not set up in such a way so as to service such a mission.

    Remember, also, that this vehicle which ended up landing on Titan is battery-powered. So, it has transmitted all its data. The thing is dead already. But it sent a lot of data to the Cassini, which still is transmitting it back to Earth.
     
  20. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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