Huygens Probe Release

December 16, 2004

This artist's conception of the Cassini orbiter shows the Huygens probe separating to enter Titan's atmosphere. After separation, the probe
drifts for about three weeks until reaching its destination, Titan. Equipped with a variety of scientific sensors, the Huygens
probe will spend 2-2.5 hours descending through Titan's dense, murky atmosphere of nitrogen and carbon-based molecules,
beaming its findings to the distant Cassini orbiter overhead. The probe could continue to relay information for up to
30 minutes after it lands on Titan's frigid surface, after which the orbiter passes beneath the horizon as seen from the probe.

For a higher resolution image click here.