Cassini orbiter, Huygens probe and future exploration concepts. An insight into the technology, mission planning and operation of spacecraft designed to study Saturn's moon, Titan and the Saturnian system. The descent of the Huygens probe to the frozen surface of Saturn's moon, Titan, in 2005, is the most distant planetary landing ever made or presently foreseen.
The Huygens probe's seven-year voyage through space (past Venus, Earth and Jupiter) attached to the Cassini orbiter, its arrival at Saturn and three-week dormant coast to Saturn's moon, Titan, culminated in Huygens' hypersonic entry into Titan's atmosphere, parachute descent, and continued operation for 72 minutes on the surface transmitting data back to Earth via the Cassini orbiter. Titan - one of Saturn's 62 confirmed moons - was chosen due to the presence of nitrogen and oxygen. If Titan received more sunlight, its atmosphere might well resemble that of a primitive Earth.
In autumn 2017, the mission will come to an end, when the Cassini orbiter plunges into Saturn's atmosphere. Here is the detailed story of how the spacecraft were designed, the technology used, how the mission was planned, and what the project scientists have discovered.