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 at NSSDCA

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)

Doppler Wind Experiment (DWE) team page
Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (GCMS) team page
Surface Science Package (SSP) team page

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