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Huygens probe on Titan: kudos to ESA and NASA
Unless you live in a cave, you know that on January 14, 2005 the Huygens space probe, part of the Cassini-Huygens NASA/ESA mission, made history by successfully landing on Saturn's moon Titan. I spent that exciting evening talking at a Saturn event at Brera, speaking about the planet and commenting the first pictures and information released by ESA.
This is a spectacular scientific and technological achievement. I have sent this short note to both the ESA and NASA mission sites:
When I first became interested in astronomy in the late 1970s, Titan and many other Solar System bodies were just point-like masses in celestial mechanics computations. Cassini-Huygens has turned Titan into a live, complex and fascinating world.
My sincerest congratulations and admiration to all Cassini-Huygens science, engineering and support team members.
Paolo Amoroso Milano, ITALY
In a previous life I wrote a book on Saturn, and this summarizes my feelings about the mission, recalling the countless hours wondering about how that dot of light in the sky was really like.
I am also pleased that Lisper John Thingstad played a major role in the mission: he designed the Huygens probe's mass spectrometer. If I understand correctly, the instrument is part of the GCMS (Gas Chromatograph and Mass Spectrometer) experiment.
I'm eagerly looking forward to knowing how Pluto really is like...
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