Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Planetary Society: Radio Astronomers Rescue Science Results for Huygens' Doppler Wind Experiment

The Planetary Society has an article up by Emily Lakdawalla reporting on today's Doppler Wind Experiment announcement. This is a definite recommend over the two press releases posted below thanks to the thoughness of the reporting (*gasp* she actually interviewed the people involved, I'm amazed). While most of the details are not any different from what was reported in the press releases, this article does a good job in explaining the significance of the Doppler Wind Experiment results and the work that went into retrieving its data. On particular passage caught my eye:

Another useful application of the Doppler Wind Experiment data is to figure out exactly where Huygens landed. Although maps showing a location for Huygens' landing site have been published, Cassini-Huygens scientists privately express doubt that the dot marks the right spot. The three-dimensional profile of Huygens' motion that will eventually be produced from the Very Long Baseline Interferometry observations should allow scientists to pinpoint exactly where Huygens landed by tracing its path from its entry point to the surface. Preliminary calculations from the zonal wind profile released today suggest that the landing site "is going to be a good 100 or 150 kilometers [60 to 90 miles] from where we went in," Bird says. "We dropped 150 kilometers, and I have a feeling that we drifted about that same amount in the easterly direction."


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