December 8, 2016
On unexplored worlds, the sound of science is a harmonious melody of chimes, clicks and mechanical whirrs. At least that’s how one scientist interpreted the January 2005 descent and landing of the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe on Titan.
As the 700-pound probe parachuted to the surface, two onboard imaging instruments provided by NASA captured views of the moon’s cloud-filled atmosphere and dusty terrain. In total, about 3,500 images were collected and transmitted to Earth via Cassini, a spacecraft that ferried the probe to Titan and stayed within radio contact during the three-and-a-half-hour mission. Back on Earth, a time-lapse video was assembled from the images.
As a bonus, a member of the instrument team added sounds to the video that represent the probe’s motion, transmission strength and its dual imaging instruments at work. The result? Watch the video to see for yourself.