Bouncing On Titan


ESA’s Huygens probe bounced, slid and wobbled its way to rest in the 10 seconds after touching down on Saturn’s moon, Titan, in January 2005, a new analysis reveals. The findings provide novel insight into the nature of the moon’s surface.

Scientists reconstructed the chain of events by analysing data from a variety of instruments that were active during the impact, in particular changes in the acceleration experienced by the probe.

“A spike in the acceleration data suggests that during the first wobble, the probe likely encountered a pebble protruding by around 2 cm from the surface of Titan, and may have even pushed it into the ground, suggesting that the surface had a consistency of soft, damp sand,” describes Dr Stefan Schröder of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, lead author of the paper reporting the results in Planetary and Space Science.

Full Story: http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMJP13S18H_index_0.html
Also: http://uanews.org/story/bounce-skid-wobble-how-huygens-landed-titan
Also: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-317

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