10 May 2006

Huygens descent video

You may have seen this video before, I gather it came out earlier this week. The intro's a little dorky, so you can skip it, or wait through it.

The video's a mosaic of various stills from Huygens from approaching Saturn, to resting on the surface of Titan, along with commentary explaining much of what you see. The actual skills required to stitch together and clean up a video like this amaze me. Even my friend at the CfA with whom I'll be working this summer doesn't have the skills, despite being lead author on some press-release photos.

I'm really amazed at the extent of the canyon-like systems on the surface - I suspect their depth has been enhanced in the video, or at least that we have no good notion of speed and size so they appear deeper than they really are, plus (presumed) lower surface gravity would make liquid flow differently. However, the fact remains that there are significant dry river beds, presumably from liquid methane! It's awesome. :) And if you have trouble wrapping your mind around methane rivers, keep in mind that the "boulders" in the foreground near the end are actually pebbles of water ice.

There's more info available at this CNN/Space.com article that I found the link through. They link to other articles in a sidebar on the right, and I'm sure NASA's got more still.

And foo, I was so excited about writing this (and the fact that I *can* since I'm done grading!), that I let my pizza burn.

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