37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 1 Cassini-Huygens
Invited, HAD Intro., Monday, September 5, 2005, 9:00-10:30am, Music Concert Hall

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[1.03] Huygens Mission Overview and Results Highlights

J.-P. Lebreton (ESA/ESTEC)

After a 7-year interplanetary trajectory on board the Cassini Orbiter, the Huygens Probe was successfully released on 25 December 2004 for its encounter with Titan 3 weeks later on 14 January 2005. It entered the atmosphere of Titan at 9:06 UTC (Titan time) at the velocity of 6 km/s. At the end of the entry, which lasted about 4 minutes during which the Probe was slowed down to 400 m/s, the three parachutes were deployed in a 15-min sequence. The first parachute was deployed at an altitude of about 156 km. The descent under parachute lasted 2h28min. Huygens landed safely on Titan’s surface and continued to function for several hours after landing. Data were transmitted over two channels to the overflying Cassini Orbiter, for on-board recording and later playback, during the whole parachute descent and for an additional 72 min after landing. The Huygens Probe descent was monitored on one of the two channels with a network of radio telescopes on Earth, all part of the Huygens Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) experiment. Several telescopes of the network were equipped with sensitive receivers that allowed real time Doppler tracking measurements from Earth. An overview of the mission is provided. The overall probe performance is discussed and a selected set of the science results is highlighted. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.