Huygens after release

Courtesy NASA / JPL.

Cassini captured this image of the Huygens probe (bright dot at the upper right) just 12 hours after it separated from the mothership at 2:00 Universal Time on December 25th. Huygens, built by the European Space Agency, will remain dormant until it approaches Saturn's cloud-enshrouded moon Titan on January 14th. After being woken by an onboard timer, the probe will plunge through Titan's atmosphere, a journey that should take 2 to 2½ hours. If the probe survives all the way to the surface, its batteries might last long enough to acquire images and data for an additional hour.


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