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Huygens Descent

Category: Mission

Huygens Descent

Huygens Descent
December 17, 2004

This picture illustrates the Huygens probe descent profile, beginning with the initial encounter with the Titan atmosphere and subsequent deceleration. As the probe slows, a small parachute is released which deploys the main probe parachute. Once the parachute is fully open the decelerator shield is jettisoned and the probe drifts toward Titan's surface.

About 40 km above the surface the main parachute is jettisoned and a smaller drogue chute carries the probe the remaining distance. Science data are continuously being transmitted by the probe to the orbiter during the probe's 2.5-hour descent to the surface, for later relay to Earth. If the probe survives its impact of about 15 mph, a small science package may transmit up to 30 minutes of post-impact science data to the orbiter. (P-41101)

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