Launch Date/Time: 15 October 1997 at 08:43 UTC
Planned Release from Cassini: 04 November 2004
Launch Vehicle: Titan-Centaur
Planned on-orbit mass: 192 Kg
Power System: Batteries of 600 W

The Huygens probe is an atmospheric probe designed to make in situ observations of the Saturnian satellite Titan. ESA's contribution to the Cassini mission, Huygens' objectives are to: (1) determine the physical characteristics (density, pressure, temperature, etc.) of Titan's atmosphere as a function of height; (2) measure the abundance of atmospheric constituents; (3) investigate the atmosphere's chemistry and photochemistry, especially with regard to organic molecules and the formation and composition of aerosols; (4) characterize the meteorology of Titan, particularly with respect to cloud physics, lightning discharges, and general circulation; and, (5) examine the physical state, topography, and composition of the surface. Similar in design to the Galileo probe, Huygens is a 1.3 m diameter descent module with a spherical nose and a conical aft section. A thermal protection aeroshell surrounds the descent module, decelerating it from 6 Km/s at arrival to 400 m/s in about two minutes and protecting it from the intense heat of entry. A parachute will then be deployed and the aeroshell jettisoned. The probe will float down through the atmosphere making measurements. Instrumentation for the probe will include: an aerosol collector and pyrolyzer, a descent imager and spectral radiometer, a Doppler wind experiment, a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer, an atmospheric structure instrument, and a surface science package.

Other Huygens Information/Data

Information about Cassini

Status of Huygens

Related Information/Data at NSSDCA

Saturn page

Other Sources of Huygens Information/Data

Huygens page (ESA)
Cassini Project page (JPL)

NSSDCA Planetary Page

Dr. Edwin V. Bell, II
Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dr. David R. Williams
Last Updated: 11 April 2016