Further insights into Titan were unveiled today (21st January
2005) as scientists involved in the joint NASA/ESA/ASI
Cassini-Huygens mission presented further results and images a week
to the day after the successful descent and arrival of the Huygens
probe on the surface of Saturn’s largest moon.

Principal Investigator for the Huygens Surface Science Package
[SSP], Professor John Zarnecki from the Open University, Milton
Keynes, has spent the last week with his team analysing and
interpreting the data.

Speaking at a press briefing from ESA’s Headquarters in Paris he
“The Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer has detected a ‘whiff’ of
methane evaporating off the surface and the SSP data has also shown
indications of gas flowing into its sensing area. These gaseous
outbursts were released as heat generated by Huygens warmed the
soil beneath the probe. This is a tantalising glimpse of the
processes at work on Titan and shows how the weather systems
operate with methane forming clouds and raining down on to the
surface – producing the drainage channels, river beds and other
features that we see in the images.

We are continuing to analyse the data from our penetrometer –
the very first instrument to touch the surface of Titan – it then
pushed through the crust to a depth of 10 to 15cm. Results indicate
that beneath the thin crust lies a material with the consistency of
sand or clay – but made of water ice grains rather than the rock
grains that we find on Earth.”

Prof. Zarnecki added,
“All of the instruments are producing intriguing results which,
when combined, will begin to build a fascinating picture of this
exotic World – with its unique geology, geography and even
meteorology. The more we see the more there is to find out. We have
only looked at a fraction of the data received – there is much more
to study.”

After a 4 billion kilometre journey through the Solar System
that lasted almost 7 years, the Huygens probe plunged into the hazy
atmosphere of Titan at 10.13 GMT on 14th January 2005. It landed
safely on the surface at 12.45 GMT with an impact speed of 5m per
second. It continued transmitting from the surface for several
hours, even after the Cassini orbiter dropped below the horizon and
stopped recording data to relay back to Earth. The Surface Science
Package of instruments on Huygens received 1 hour, 9 minutes and 36
seconds worth of data from the surface.

The science data received by Huygens will provide the vital
‘ground truth’ for the Cassini spacecraft as it continues its
scientific observations of Titan during its 4-year tour of

The Surface Science Package, designed and assembled in the UK
(in partnership with ESTEC and SRC Warsaw), was the first part of
the Huygens probe to make contact with Titan’s surface.

For further updates, images and sounds from Titan see the ESA
ESA – http://saturn.esa.int

Further information can be found on the following
NASA – http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov
PPARC – Further details about the UK role in the mission and a full
list of UK contacts (science and industry) at:-

Open University Surface Science Package Website

UK Contacts

Peter Barratt – PPARC Press office
Tel: 01793 442025. Mobile: 0787 9602899
Email: peter.barratt@pparc.ac.uk

Gill Ormrod – PPARC Press Office
Tel: 01793 442012 Mobile: 0781 8013509.
Email: gill.ormrod@pparc.ac.uk

Julia Maddock – PPARC Press Office
Tel: 01793 442094. Mobile: 07901 514975
Email: julia.maddock@pparc.ac.uk

Louis De La Forêt – Media Relations Officer, Open
Tel: 01908 653256. Mobile 07771810099
Email: L.delaforet@open.ac.uk

Natalie Bealing – CCLRC Press Office
Mobile: 07941 518321
Email: n.d.bealing@cclrc.ac.uk

UK Scientists available

Huygens Team

Professor John Zarnecki, Open University – Principal
Investigator for Huygens Surface Science Package (SSP) and
Co-investigator for the Huygens Atmospheric Instrument (HASI) –
Mobile: 0 7769 943883

Mark Leese, OU Huygens team
Mobile: 07941 413933 Email: m.r.leese@open.ac.uk

Dr.Andrew Ball, OU Huygens team
Mobile: 07905 104576 Email: a.j.ball@open.ac.uk

Dr Simon Green, OU Huygens team
Tel: 01908 659601. Email: s.f.green@open.ac.uk

Professor Tony McDonnell, OU Huygens team
Co-I on SSP and HASI. Co-I on CDA on Cassini
Tel: 01227 761352. Mobile: 07771 514107
Email j.a.c.mcdonnell@open.ac.uk

Professor Colin Pillinger, OU
Tel: 01908 655169. Email: c.t.pillinger@open.ac.uk

Dave Parker – CCLRC Huygens team
Mobile: 07712 847427. Email: d.j.parker@rl.ac.uk

Professor Manuel Grande, CCLRC
Tel: 01235 446501. Email: M.Grande@rl.ac.uk

Dr. Peter Challenor – Southampton Oceanography Centre
Tel: 023 80596413. Email: P.Challenor@soc.soton.ac.uk

Cassini Scientists

Professor Carl Murray, Queen Mary, University of London –
Co-Investigator on Imaging Science Subsystem team (Cassini)
Tel: 0207 8825456. Email c.d.murray@qmul.ac.uk
Mobile: 07976 243883.

Dr Andrew Coates, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL –
Co-Investigator on Cassini Plasma Electron Spectrometer
Tel: 01483 204145. Email: ajc@mssl.ucl.ac.uk
Mobile: 07788 448318

Professor Michele Dougherty, Imperial College – Principal
Investigator on Magnetometer (Cassini)
Tel: 020 7594 7757. Email: m.dougherty@ic.ac.uk

Dr Patrick Irwin, University of Oxford – Co-Investigator on
Composite Infrared Spectrometer (Cassini)
Tel: 01865 272083. Email: Irwin@atm.ox.ac.uk

Dr Ingo Mueller-Wodarg, Imperial College – Co-investigator on
INMS (Cassini)
Tel: 020 7594 7674. Mobile: 07973 271816
Email: i.mueller-wodarg@imperial.ac.uk

ESA and NASA PR Contacts

ESA/ESOC Media Relations – Jocelyne Landeau-Constantin
Tel: +49 (0) 6151 90 2696
Email: jocelyne.landeau-constantin@esa.int

ESA/Head Office Media Relations – Franco Bonacina
Tel: +33 (0) 1 5369 7155
Email: Franco.Bonacina1@esa.int

JPL Media Relations – Carolina Martinez
Tel: +1 818 354 9382 or +1 818 354 5011

UK Industrial Contacts

Logica CMG – has provided software for the probe support
equipment on the orbiter and for the Huygens probe. The probe
software will control the descent to the surface of Titan, as well
as initiate the various experiments onboard, and control data
transmission back to the orbiter.
Contact: Alex Rowley. Tel: 0207 4197331. Email: Alex@bbpr.com

Scisys Ltd – developed the Mission Control System at the
European Space Agency’s Operation Centre in Darmstadt,
Contact: Chris Lee. Tel: 01249 466467

Martin Baker Space Systems – Martin Baker was responsible for
the parachute systems and the related structural components,
mechanisms and pyrotechnics needed to control the descent of the
probe to Titan.
Contact: Steve Lingard. Tel: 01865 893210. Email: steve.lingard@vorticity-systems.com

Hugh Pickerin. Tel: 01428 712620 or 01865 893210. Email:

Irvin-GQ – Irvin Aerospace Limited worked on the Huygens descent
control sub-system under contract to Martin Baker. Irvin was
responsible for the definition of the structure of each of the
parachutes employed in the system.
Contact: Geoff Linaker. Tel: 01656 727000. Email: geoff.linaker@irvingq.co.uk

IGG Component Technology – was responsible for the centralised
procurement and testing of electrical, electronic and
electromechanical components used in the probe’s electronics.
Contact: Graham Peters. Tel: 01329 829311. Email: graham.peters@igg.co.uk

UK Science and Industrial Involvement

UK scientists are playing significant roles in the Cassini
Huygens mission with involvement in 6 of the 12 instruments onboard
the Cassini orbiter and 2 of the 6 instruments on the Huygens
probe. The UK has the lead role in the magnetometer instrument on
Cassini (Imperial College) and the Surface Science Package on
Huygens (Open University).

UK industry had developed many of the key systems for the
Huygens probe, including the flight software (LogicaCMG) and
parachutes (Martin Baker). These mission critical systems need to
perform reliably in some of the most challenging and remote
environments ever attempted by a man made object. For examples, the
Huygens probe will hit the atmosphere of Titan at 6 km/sec.
LogicaCMG’s software onboard the probe will be responsible for
deploying the parachutes, separating the front and back shield with
precise timings to achieve the required descent profile; reducing
the velocity of Huygens before commencing the science experiments,
and managing communications back to Cassini.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA,
the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The
European Space Agency managed the development of the Huygens probe
and is in charge of operations of the probe from its control centre
in Darmstadt, Germany. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of
the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the
Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate,
Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras
were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The Italian Space
Agency provided the high-gain antenna, much of the radio system and
elements of Cassini’s science instruments.

The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) is
the UK’s strategic science investment agency. It funds research,
education and public understanding in four broad areas of science –
particle physics, astronomy, cosmology and space science.

PPARC is government funded and provides research grants and
studentships to scientists in British universities, gives
researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK
membership of international bodies such as the European
Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, the European Space Agency
and the European Southern Observatory. It also contributes money
for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and
in Chile, the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal
Observatory, Edinburgh and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility.