Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we can now witness a recreation of the historic moment when NASA’s Huygens probe, the companion to the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft, made its epic 2005 landing on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.
Cassini-Huygens arrived to Saturn in 2004 and became the first manmade craft to ever enter the planet’s orbit. The “Cassini” portion of vessel’s name refers to the orbiting component dedicated to studying Saturn and its many moons from a distance, while the “Huygens” portion refers to the lander that successfully touched down on Titan on January 14, 2005.
To commemorate the near-anniversary of Huygens’ 2.5-hour descent onto Titan – the second-largest moon in the solar system and the only other celestial object found to contain surface liquids – NASA created a video documenting the impressive feat.
“Huygens’ descent to Titan represents a major milestone in the exploration of our solar system,” the video notes. “No other spacecraft has landed farther from the sun.”
Thanks to Huygens, astronomers gained access to troves of data about Titan’s geological makeup and obtained up-close images of its mysterious surface, which appears to consist of water ice and rocky material.
Although Cassini is still currently orbiting Saturn, it will sadly be destroyed at some point in 2017 when it collides with the gas giant, as it is running out of fuel to maintain its unobstructed orbital path.