Feeds

Huygens probe alive and kicking

Titan mission looking hopeful

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

Mission scientists have detected the first signals from the Huygens Titan probe, relayed to Earth by its Cassini mothership.

Professor John Zarnecki, principle investigator on the UK science package, said: "Cassini has turned back to the earth and started to transmit data. It is fantastic. It means Cassini has flown its mission correctly. Now we have 40 mins of suspense, then we'll start seeing mission data."

The first data is not experimental data, but housekeeping information. Even so, it does tell us some things: the amount of current being drawn, for example, gives an indication of whether or not the experiments are running, Zarnecki explained. "It tells us things like is it on, is it working?" he said.

Earlier, he told a UK press conference by video link that the scientists at mission control had detected a frequency shift of around 20Hz in the signal Huygens has been sending to Cassini. This shift came after 147 minutes, about the expected descent time, so the scientists are tentatively saying this could be the landing.

"It is certainly grounds for hope," said Zarnecki. He cautioned that the real test of the mission was whether or not it managed to send back any data. Nevertheless, he added: "We are trying hard not to feel elated, but there are a few smiles at mission control."

Huygens has taken seven years to reach Titan, the second largest satellite in the solar system, and the only one with an atmosphere.

It made its journey on board NASA's Cassini mission, and separated from the mothership on Christmas day last year. Since then it has been coasting through space, dormant, until it was woken by onboard systems as it encountered Titan's atmosphere.

Researchers hope that its experimental data will solve some of the mysteries surrounding this enigmatic body. ®

Related stories

Huygens: the countdown to splashdown
Cassini probe snaps Mimas
Huygens probe gets clean bill of health
Titan hangs on to its secrets
Cassini glimpses Titan's face
Cassini gives Iapetus a wide berth
Cassini approaches Titanic flyby
Cassini finds two tiny Saturnian moons
Cassini runs rings round Saturn
Mysterious Phoebe: Cassini's next fly-by
Cassini images delight star gazers

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.