The Open University scientist who headed the most distant landing ever made by any manmade spacecraft – when European Space Agency’s Huygens probe parachuted softly on to the surface of Saturn's moon Titan – will deliver the 2006 – 2007 Grubb-Parsons Lecture at Durham University.
Professor Zarnecki will talk about the journey of the Huygens probe and its final dramatic plunge to the surface, as well as present results from the data Huygens sent back to Earth. Prospects for future space missions will also be included.
Titan (NASA/JPL photo)
Titan, which is larger than the planet Mercury, is the only planetary satellite in the entire Solar System to possess a significant atmosphere. This atmosphere is the site of a range of chemical reactions which produce complex hydrocarbon molecules similar to the processes which are likely to have occurred in Earth's early atmosphere over 4 billion years ago.