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Australian telescopes to take part in Huygens space-probe experiment

On 14 January 2005, radio telescopes of CSIRO and other Australian institutions will help pinpoint the location of the European Space Agency's Huygens probe as it plunges through the clouds of Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

The goal is to measure the speed of the winds in Titan's atmosphere.

This experiment is being coordinated by JIVE, the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe. It is separate from the tracking of the probe's parent Cassini spacecraft, which will be done by NASAÂ’s Deep Space Communication Network, including the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex at Tidbinbilla, ACT.

Shortly after 9 pm AEDT the probe will start its descent through the clouds of Titan, 1.2 billion kilometres from Earth. Using a special technique, a network of 17 radio telescopes in Australia, the USA, China and Japan will attempt to determine its entry point to within a kilometre.

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Added by Helen Sim on 2004-12-09

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