NASA video recreates Huygen probe's historic landing on Titan

It's been 12 years since Cassini's buddy landed on Saturn's largest moon.

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January 17th, 2017
In this article: cassini, huyens, saturn, science, space, titan
ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Before NASA's Cassini probe captured the most detailed images of Saturn we've ever seen, it dropped its companion Huygens on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. The probe's historic landing took place on June 14th, 2005. Now, the space agency has taken the data and actual photos Huygens sent 12 years ago to recreate part of its two-and-a-half hour descent into Titan's hazy atmosphere. The video, which you can watch below the fold, features what the probe saw from an altitude of around 6 miles, including the moon's rugged highlands and deep ravines.

Thanks to both Cassini and Huygens, we're now more familiar with Saturn and its complex moon, where temperatures can drop as low as hundreds of degrees below freezing. Huygens remains the only spacecraft we've ever landed on a celestial body in the outer solar system. However, that could change if NASA pushes through with its plan to send a sub to find any sign of life in Titan's methane sea.

Update: This piece incorrectly stated that Huygens was the only spacecraft we've landed "outside the solar system." It should have read "outside the inner solar system." We are very much aware that Saturn and its moons are still part of our solar system and apologize for the confusion!

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