January 14, 2005

"My God, it's full of stars . . ."

According to Space.com, the European Huygens probe has separated from the Cassini spacecraft and is now on its way to Titan.

NASA TV will begin live coverage of the descent at 3am. This, of course, is too late for curmudgeons to stay up listening to engineers reciting telemetry figures over the radio. I'll be checking in on this story in the morning, and making sure we didn't offend the natives. If we haven't been enslaved by big-brained aliens, I'll assume all went OK.

Update: Success! The Huygens probe has touched down on Titan and beome the farthest man-made object to touch down on another world. It has also transmitted science data back up to Cassini. Here is Space.com's blow-by-blow.