In honor of the Huygens probe's historic 2005 landing on the surface of Titan (Saturn's largest satellite, and the only moon in our solar system with a dense atmosphere), NASA has released a movie that recreates, with data collected by Huygens and the Cassini orbiter, a dramatic approach of the moon's surface from deep space.
The first minute shows a zoom into images of Titan from Cassini's cameras, while the remainder of the movie depicts the view from Huygens during the last few hours of its historic descent and landing.
It was October 15, 1997, when NASA's Cassini orbiter embarked on an epic, seven-year voyage to the Saturnian system. Hitching a ride was ESA's Huygens probe, destined for Saturn's largest moon, Titan. The final chapter of the interplanetary trek for Huygens began on 25 December 2004 when it deployed from the orbiter for a 21-day solo cruise toward the haze-shrouded moon. Plunging into Titan's atmosphere, on January 14 2005, the probe survived the hazardous 2 hour 27 minute descent to touch down safely on Titan's frozen surface. Today, the Cassini spacecraft remains in orbit at Saturn. Its mission will end in 2017, 20 years after its journey began.
Images courtesy of NASA, ESA, SSI, and the University of Arizona.