Descent Control Sub-System (DCs) of the Huygens probe, 1997.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Casini-Huygens mision was launched in 1997 to explore Saturn and its moon Titan. The mision is due to arrive in orbit around Saturn on 1st July, 2004, and the Huygens probe should descend into Titan's atmosphere on 14th January, 2005. The apparatus here is part of the parachute system that will slow the space probe from Mach 1.48 as it enters Titan's atmosphere and falls to the surface. The cylindrical mortar houses the pilot parachute. On its side are two red-tipped NASA Standard indicators that detonate the charge to fire the mortar. Overhead is the attached break-out patch through which the parachute is deployed. Manufactured by Martin Baker Aircraft Co Ltd.