The Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn included landing the Huygens probe on Saturn’s moon Titan. The Huygens probe made its 147-minute descent to the surface of Titan on Jan. 14, 2005. NASA, the European Space Agency and the University of Arizona have recently released a movie, based on data recorded by the Huygens’ cameras, of what the probe ’saw’ during the descent.
This is a record of the most distant touchdown ever made by a terrestrial spacecraft.
When I watch the probe drop through the thick atmosphere of Titan, when I watch the moon’s features resolve into river beds and drainage channels, and then to a soft riverbed studded with water ice boulders, it gives me chills. It puts a lump in my throat.
This is what it means to be a spacefaring species.