On This Day in Space! Jan. 14, 2005: Huygens probe lands on Saturn’s moon Titan

On Jan. 14, 2005, a spacecraft landed on one of Saturn’s moons

The European Space Agency’s Huygens probe hitched a ride on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft to Saturn’s largest moon Titan. It parted ways with the mothership about three weeks before touching down on the icy moon’s surface. 

An artist’s impression of the descent and landing sequence of ESA’s Huygens probe onto the surface of Titan. The Jan. 14, 2005 landing was the culmination of a 22-year process of planning, organizing and cooperation between ESA and NASA. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/ESA)

This was the first time a spacecraft had ever landed on a moon in the outer solar system. Huygens took some amazing photos and collected plenty of data, which revealed that Titan has lakes and seas of liquid methane and ethane, replenished by rain from hydrocarbon clouds.

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Email Hanneke Weitering at [email protected] or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.