Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




SATURN DAILY
Bouncing on Titan
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Oct 12, 2012


illustration only

ESA's Huygens probe bounced, slid and wobbled its way to rest in the 10 seconds after touching down on Saturn's moon, Titan, in January 2005, a new analysis reveals. The findings provide novel insight into the nature of the moon's surface.

Scientists reconstructed the chain of events by analysing data from a variety of instruments that were active during the impact, in particular changes in the acceleration experienced by the probe.

The instrument data were compared with results from computer simulations and a drop test using a model of Huygens designed to replicate the landing.

The analysis reveals that, on first contact with Titan's surface, Huygens dug a hole 12 cm deep, before bouncing out onto a flat surface.

The probe, tilted by about 10 degrees in the direction of motion, then slid 30-40 cm across the surface.

It slowed due to friction with the surface and, upon coming to its final resting place, wobbled back and forth five times, with each wobble about half as large as the previous one.

Huygens' sensors continued to detect small vibrations for another two seconds, until motion subsided nearly 10 seconds after touchdown.

"A spike in the acceleration data suggests that during the first wobble, the probe likely encountered a pebble protruding by around 2 cm from the surface of Titan, and may have even pushed it into the ground, suggesting that the surface had a consistency of soft, damp sand," describes Dr Stefan Schroder of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, lead author of the paper reporting the results in Planetary and Space Science.

Had the probe impacted a wet, mud-like substance, its instruments would have recorded a 'splat' with no further indication of bouncing or sliding.

The surface must have therefore been soft enough to allow the probe to make a hole, but hard enough to support Huygens rocking back and forth.

"We also see in the Huygens landing data evidence of a 'fluffy' dust-like material - most likely organic aerosols that are known to drizzle out of the Titan atmosphere - being thrown up and suspended for around four seconds after the impact," says Dr Schroder.

Since the dust was easily lifted, it was most likely dry, suggesting that there had not been any 'rain' of liquid ethane or methane for some time prior to the landing.

"This study takes us back to the historical moment of Huygens touching down on the most remote alien world ever visited by a landing probe," adds ESA's Cassini-Huygens project scientist, Nicolas Altobelli.

"Huygens data, even years after mission completion, are providing us with a new dynamical 'feeling' for these crucial first seconds of landing."

.


Related Links
Huygens
Cassini at JPL
Cassini images
Explore The Ring World of Saturn and her moons
Jupiter and its Moons
The million outer planets of a star called Sol
News Flash at Mercury






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





SATURN DAILY
Sailing on an Extraterrestrial Sea
Bethesda MD (SPX) Feb 16, 2012
Many of us have sailed the Earth's lakes, bays and rivers. But, imagine sailing on an extraterrestrial sea of liquid methane-ethane a billion miles from Earth. This is the kind of idea that makes science fiction so interesting. Yet, this may not be fiction at all. Under its Discovery Program NASA is currently conducting a contest among three science teams. One team will be selected for a 2 ... read more


SATURN DAILY
Russian moon mission said funded, ready

Rover designed to drill for moon ice

China has no timetable for manned moon landing

Senior scientist discusses China's lunar orbiter challenges

SATURN DAILY
Mars rover makes surprising rock find

Meteorite delivers Martian secrets to University of Alberta researcher

Mars Rock Touched by NASA Curiosity has Surprises

Resume Working with First Scooped Sample

SATURN DAILY
Austrian daredevil to make new space jump bid

Austrian daredevil eyes new space jump at weekend

Grants help scientists explore boundary between science and science fiction

Dead stars could be cosmic 'GPS'

SATURN DAILY
ChangE-2 Mission To Lagrange L2 Point

Meeting of heads of ESA and China Manned Space Agency

China Spacesat gets 18-million-USD gov't support

Tiangong Orbit Change Signals Likely Date for Shenzhou 10

SATURN DAILY
Crew Unloads Dragon, Finds Treats

Station Crew Opens Dragon Hatch

NASA and International Partners Approve Year Long ISS Stay

Year on ISS planned ahead of manned Mars mission

SATURN DAILY
India to launch 58 space missions in next 5 years

SpaceX Dragon Successfully Attaches To Space Station

Another Ariane 5 Enters Launch Campaign Queue

SpaceX capsule links up with space station: NASA

SATURN DAILY
Nearby Super-Earth Likely a Diamond Planet

Candels Team Discovers Dusty Galaxies At Ancient Epoch With Hubble Space Telescope

Large water reservoirs at the dawn of stellar birth

Comet crystals found in a nearby planetary system

SATURN DAILY
Swedish breakthrough in space on NASA satellite with electronics from AAC Microtec

US appeals court lifts ban on Samsung-Google phone

Focus on space debris: Envisat

Weizmann Institute Scientists observe quantum effects in cold chemistry




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement