Huygens down and transmitting data!!

| 21 Comments

In what is turning out to be a pretty darn good week for science, the Huygens probe from the Cassini spacecraft has apparently entered the atmosphere of the shrouded moon Titan, the parachutes deployed, and data was successfully transmitted. This blows away all previous surface landings on extraterrestrial bodies and is, well, really cool.

Huygens-Cassini Live Blogging: Titan Touchdown

category - Science Update: 10:25 Cassini is now sending ‘dummy packets’. The signal has been acquired by JPL/ESA. Good news.

Update: 9:35 JPL Mission briefing. “We know all three parachutes did deploy and the heat shield worked. We know it survived for at least half an hour on the surface of Titan.” Note-some of the data intended for and likely received by Cassini “leaked” all the way to earth, in addition to the carrier signal, indicating data was received from onboard instruments. Cassini should turn to earth and start sending at 10:07 EST. 67 minutes later we begin to download Huygens data. It will take some time to compile

Update: 8:30 ESA/ESOC Mission briefing. Huygens is STILL transmitting earth time. Data Stream appears ‘very rich’. Huygens appears to have survived and is still transmitting well beyond impact/touchdown on Titan’s surface. Cassini will listen for Huygens’s signal as long as there is the slightest possibility that it can be detected. Once Huygens’s landing site disappears below the horizon, there’s no more chance of signal, and Huygens’s work is finished. Cassini-Huygens Data stream is scheduled to commence at 10:07 EST but will not be acquired until 11:14 EST earth time

Update: 7:50 Contact at JPL tells me that Earth bound radio observatory believes they also detected ‘solid’ image data from the DISR . This remains unconfirmed officially.

Update: 7:46 Data in stream confirmed. Doppler data from one of the onboard instruments was detected via earth bound observatory being transmitted to cassini. Hod damn I think this may have worked folks.

Update: 7:30 AM EST Mission Briefing From ESA/ESOC in Germany, reporting “We have a signal, so we know Huygens is alive”. “Signal was solid for a long time”. “Signal was solid for two hours!”. Confirmed data transmission from Huygens to Cassini by earth bound radio observatories world wide!! Very encouraging!!!!

BBC: Moon mission ‘probably a success’

Cassini webpage: Radio Astronomers Confirm Huygens Entry in the Atmosphere of Titan

21 Comments

BTW, those acquisition times are real iffy. Right now it appears to be going faster.

That is so cool! Back in the early ’60s down at the Cape when we were blowing up birds on the pad, or dumping them in the Indian River, or watching them dive uncontrollably into the Atlantic off the Cape, whoda thunk it? (Well, some did, obviously!)

RBH

Kudos to the Europeans, Huygens is their baby. “Old Europe” my [bleep].

I’m watching NASA TV right now, everyone is standing around like something – wait, right now they are starting announcements.

Update: 11:45 ESA Mission briefing in Damstadt Germany. Tears are flowing on both sides of the ocean as the life work of hundreds of mission planners appears to be nearing a successful climax. “The torch has been handed from the engineers who have safely delivered Hyugens to Titan’s surface, to the scientists who will now begin compiling the data. This data is historic, it is for posterity.” Probe was spinning at the rate of 6 rpms at 50 kms, internal temp 25 C.

Update: 12:10 Possible liquid landing inferred

According to the Cassini website,

European Space Agency mission managers for the Huygens probe confirm that data of the probe’s descent to Saturn’s moon Titan are being received. They expect to see first images around 11:45 a.m. PST.

NPR’s Science Friday will also do a segment on this on hour 2 of today’s show (12-1 pm PST).

I’m certainly of the opinion that my tax dollars funding the Cassini mission are far better spent than those that funded the discovery that whales are descended from artiodactyls instead of mesonychians.

I empathize with your desire to post an article about hard science with real merit on Panda’s Thumb as a break from the pedantic drivel about life’s ancient history.

But isn’t science of real merit that isn’t controversial and is happily funded by taxpayers excited by it off-topic in Panda’s Thumb?

Just curious…

I think it’s time do a Jerry Don Bauer on David Scott Springer.

What tax dollars of yours went into evolution research? Just curious Dave.

The ESA certainly needs some success after their rather embarrassing rate of getting Mars landers on the ground in one piece.

Speaking of Mars landers it’s simply amazing and a demonstration of good old American know-how that Spirit and Opportunity are still functional far beyond their expected operational lifetimes.

Granted we didn’t expect Opportunity’s solar panel to get cleaned 4 times by a little green homeless man with a spray bottle of windex and a dirty rag. I hope someone thought to put a dollar bill on the rover to compensate the LGM for his trouble. ;-)

Earth to DaveScot (or Titan to DaveScot, whatever):

Why do you think we picked Titan, out of 40+ other moons around Mars/Jupiter/Saturn, as the first moon beyond the Earth’s to land on? Let me count the reasons:

1. Think atmosphere full of organic compounds 2. In deep freeze 3. Rather like the early Earth might have been 4. Potential prebiotic chemistry studiable in the here-and-now

So, there’s a few billion of your tax dollars sunk into an evolution-related study, right there.

Mike

What tax dollars of yours went into evolution research? Just curious Dave.

I don’t really have enough data to say how much went where but since I pay taxes and taxes fund NSF and NSF funds grants for things like this research on evolution of whale hearing

http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/newsroom/[…]000000000120

I know it’s some non-zero amount.

Earth to DaveScot (or Titan to DaveScot, whatever):

Why do you think we picked Titan, out of 40+ other moons around Mars/Jupiter/Saturn, as the first moon beyond the Earth’s to land on? Let me count the reasons:

1. Think atmosphere full of organic compounds 2. In deep freeze 3. Rather like the early Earth might have been 4. Potential prebiotic chemistry studiable in the here-and-now

So, there’s a few billion of your tax dollars sunk into an evolution-related study, right there.

I was just watching NASA TV online, it looks like they got an image back from Huygens, it looked like a highly dissected drainage pattern to me. This means rivers, rain, etc., whatever the liquid might be.

NOTE: I just saw a flash of the image was before the feed cut out, so I don’t know what the image was of, so I Might Be Totally Wrong.

Yeap they have images compiled. I have several contacts inside but so far they ain’t releasing anything.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 18, column 2, byte 2239 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Once again Dave, pose any problem you have with evolutionary theory. Hopefully something with some evidence to back it up that hasn’t already been debunked as either an argumentative fallacy, or as junk science. Maybe you could even write a paper and submit it to a peer reviewed journal? That’s a day I’m sure we are all waiting for with baited breath.

That would be “bated” breath, as in “abated”.  (I’m not holding my breath waiting for any of the trolls to make sense.)

Nice peer-review of my post. Maybe I only did it to “bait” a response? Probably not.

DaveScot Wrote:

But isn’t science of real merit that isn’t controversial and is happily funded by taxpayers excited by it off-topic in Panda’s Thumb?

Don’t be too sure. There are always people with unusual thought processes who simply will not accept thoroughly validated scientific concepts such as the heliocentric solar system or the theory of evolution. I’m sure that we could drum up some controversy that would be convincing to such people

David Scott Springer writes

That isn’t my idea of a democratic republic in action. I might not always like the result of democratic decision making but it remains the only way I want decisions to be made.

I believe the Grand Wizard agrees with this prima donna.

DaveScot Wrote:

That isn’t my idea of a democratic republic in action.

I guess your idea of a democratic republic does not have constitutionally guranteed separation of church and state to protect from the “tyranny of the majority”.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on January 14, 2005 9:31 AM.

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