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Huygens pictures unveil surface of Titan
www.chinaview.cn 2005-01-16 03:48:15

 

First photos from the Saturn's moon Titan have signaled that probably there is water on the planet, experts said Saturday.In some 350 pictures the researchers received from the universe,"canals valleys and perhaps also a shoreline" could be seen clearly
This raw image beamed back by the ESA Huygens probe during when it is 8 kilometers away from the surface of Saturn's moon, Titan. Canals valleys and perhaps also a shoreline" could be seen clearly in the photo. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

First photos from the Saturn's moon Titan have signaled that probably there is water on the planet, experts said Saturday.
One of the first images returned by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Huygen's probe on Titan.(Xinhua/AFP Photo)
    BERLIN, Jan. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- First photos from the Saturn's moon Titan have signaled that probably there is water on the planet, experts said Saturday.

    In some 350 pictures the researchers received from the universe,"canals valleys and perhaps also a shoreline" could be seen clearly, said Marty Tomasko, picture specialist of the University of Arizona, at the European Space Agency (ESA) control center based in Darmstadt, Germany.

    Tomasko presented a picture that was made 16 kilometers away from the surface of Titan as well as photos taken soon after the landing of the Huygens probe on the moon.

    In some pictures, boulders could be seen across a flat landscape, others showed what looked like channels cutting through the moon's surface.

    Tomasko said that the objects "could be ice water blocks," measuring no more than 15 centimeters in diameter.
First photos from the Saturn's moon Titan have signaled that probably there is water on the planet, experts said Saturday.
One of the first images returned by the ESA Huygens DISR camera after the probe descended through the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

    However he warned that it would take years of analysis before the pictures finally give up their secrets. "Don't expect any geological explanation at this point," he said.

    The pictures taken by the lander on Friday went far beyond the expectations of the ESA experts.

    "I am blown away by what we saw yesterday, it is extraordinary," said David Southwood, scientific director at the ESA.

    Jean-Pierre Lebreton, directors of the Huygens mission at the ESA, said the data gathered had fulfilled the project's most ambitious objectives.

    "We already have a clearer picture of Titan," he said.

    Huygens separated from its US-built mother-ship Cassini and plunged to the surface of Titan earlier Friday. It was the farthest landing from Earth ever attempted.

    Scientists hope the mission that cost 3.2 billion US dollars could provide clues about the origins of our own planet.

    The thick mix of nitrogen and methane at Titan is suspected to be undergoing chemical reactions similar to those that happened on Earth billions of years ago. That process eventually provided the conditions for life on our planet. Enditem

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