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Parachute of Huygens probe opening above Titan

Parachute of Huygens probe opening above Titan

R250/0097

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Huygens probe at Titan. Artist's impression of the main parachute of the Huygens probe opening in the atmosphere of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The heat-shield of the probe is still glowing after the atmospheric entry phase. Travelling at Mach 1.5 (1440 km/h), Huygens has just deployed its 8.3-metre diameter main parachute. Within 30 seconds, the probe's descent speed will drop to Mach 0.6 (580 km/h), and the heat-shield will be released. Huygens will then spend 15 minutes taking various measurements of Titan's nitrogen and methane atmosphere. Huygens is a European project, part of NASA's Cassini spacecraft, and will arrive at Titan on 27 November 2004.

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