Revisit the first landing of a probe on an alien moon

Celebrate the end of the Cassini mission with a look back at when the Huygens probe's landing on Saturn's moon Titan.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

We've been hearing a lot about Cassini, NASA's bold Saturn-studying spacecraft, as it nears its death plunge. But the mission's full name is Cassini-Huygens, and it's important to remember the contributions made by the Huygens probe that launched with Cassini. The European Space Agency released a video on Monday that lets us relive the thrilling time when we landed that probe on an alien moon.

The ESA's Huygens probe launched with Cassini in October 1997 and dove to the surface of Saturn's largest moon Titan in early 2005. It landed with the help of a parachute. "This was humanity's first successful attempt to land a probe on another world in the outer solar system," the ESA says

The ESA video looks back at the probe's daring expedition, the fascinating images it sent back and some of the scientific discoveries enabled by Huygens. The probe taught us about the moon's atmosphere and winds and hinted at Titan's subsurface ocean.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a joint project of NASA, the ESA and the Italian Space Agency. Cassini's mission-ending final dive is scheduled for Sept. 15.

See Saturn's secrets through NASA Cassini's finest views

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