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Huygens probe entering Titan's atmosphere

Huygens probe entering Titan's atmosphere

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Credit

DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Huygens probe at Titan. Artwork of the Huygens probe entering the atmosphere of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn (seen in the sky). Huygens will enter Titan's atmosphere of nitrogen and methane, making various atmospheric measurements while it decends. The probe will take about three minutes to slow down to 1440 km/h to allow the opening of the main parachute. The glowing shock wave in front of the probe will reach temperatures of up to 12,000 Celsius. The probe is protected by a heat-shield, made from thermal tiles similar to those on the Space Shuttle. Huygens is a European project, part of NASA's Cassini spacecraft, and will arrive at Titan on 27 November 2004.

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