The Haus

Saturday, January 15, 2005

How a Huygens Disaster Was Averted

We are all enjoying the sights and sounds of Titan sent to Earth by Cassini from the Huygens lander. What few realize is how close we came to getting nothing but garbage from it. The Italian company that made the radio link between the two crafts failed to take Doppler shift into account. To make matters worse, the timing information was in firmware, not software, so it couldn't be fixed en route. The whole flight had to be altered so that Doppler shift could be avoided. If it weren't for the persistence of one scientist, we would be bemoaning a very expensive failure today. Thanks Slashdot.

News for 01/15/2005

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