On 15 October 1997, NASA's Cassini orbiter embarked on an epic, seven-year voyage to the Saturnian system. Hitching a ride was ESA's Huygens probe, destined for Saturn's largest moon, Titan. The final chapter of the interplanetary trek for Huygens began on 25 December 2004 when it deployed from the orbiter for a 21-day solo cruise toward the haze-shrouded moon. Plunging into Titan’s atmosphere, on 14 January 2005, the probe survived the hazardous 2 hour 27 minute descent to touch down safely on Titan’s frozen surface.
This narrated movie was created with data collected by Cassini's imaging cameras and the Huygens Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer (DISR). The first minute shows a zoom into images from the orbiter’s cameras, while the remainder of the movie depicts the view from Huygens during the last few hours of its historic journey.
This new version of the movie uses updated DISR data and was released on 14 January 2015 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Huygen's landing on Titan.
Video: Erich Karkoschka, DISR team, University of Arizona. Script: Chuck See, DISR team, University of Arizona. Narration: David Harrington. Music: Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 by Debbie Hu (Yelm, Washington, USA).
The Cassini Solstice Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.