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Sunday, December 5, 2010

The first color view of Titan's surface taken by the Huygens probe

The first color view of Titan's surface taken by the Huygens probe
Click on the image to enlarge

This image was captured by the European Space Agency's Huygens probe during its successful descent to land on Titan. This is the colored view, following processing to add reflection spectra data, and gives a better indication of the actual color of the surface.
Initially thought to be rocks or ice blocks, they are more pebble-sized. The two rock-like objects just below the middle of the image are about 15 centimeters (about 6 inches) (left) and 4 centimeters (about 1.5 inches) (center) across respectively, at a distance of about 85 centimeters (about 33 inches) from Huygens. The surface is darker than originally expected, consisting of a mixture of water and hydrocarbon ice. There is also evidence of erosion at the base of these objects, indicating possible fluvial activity.
The image was taken with the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer, one of two NASA instruments on the probe.
Credit: NASA/JPL/ESA/University of Arizona

1 comment(s):

Myria83 said...

Amazing... I'm moved by this picture.

PS: What's the title of the background music? It's beautiful...

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