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Press Room

Planetary Society Is Huygens/Titan Resource

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
01/13/2005

CONTACT:
Mat Kaplan
Email: mat.kaplan@planetary.org
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

For in depth coverage of Huygens at Titan and the Cassini mission, including the first sounds from an alien moon, visit The Planetary Society's website or call on Society experts for interviews about the Saturnian system and its moons.

The Planetary Society's Cassini-Huygens web resource is a user-friendly tool that offers not only a comprehensive overview of Huygens' upcoming encounter with Titan, but also exclusive chronological charts of all of Cassini's encounters with Saturn and its moons and a detailed timeline of the Huygens descent. The Society has teamed with the European Space Agency and the Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument team to release the sounds recorded by the Huygens probe during its descent through Titan's atmosphere on January 14, 2005. Sounds -- such as the whoosh of wind or perhaps even the crack of thunder -- will be posted on the website on Saturday, January 15.

“For decades, Titan has retained its mystery and intrigue, teasing us with its similarities to the primeval Earth,” said Dr. Bruce Betts, The Planetary Society’s Director of Projects. “Now Huygens will give us our first close-up sights and sounds of this fascinating world.”

Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society is posting up-to-the-minute web logs from Huygens Mission Control in Germany on the Society's website. She is in Germany with Chelsey Tyler, the 15-year-old winner of the Society's international art contest, "Imagining Titan: Artists Peer Beneath the Veil." Tyler's prize was to travel to Huygens Mission Control for the probe's encounter.

Experts available for interview include the following:

Dr. Bruce Betts is a planetary scientist whose research has focused on studies of planetary surfaces. He spent three years at NASA headquarters managing planetary instrument development programs to design spacecraft science instruments. He also acted as program scientist on planned NASA planetary missions. Dr. Betts is a senior research scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and is the convivial host of the weekly "What's Up?" feature on the nationally distributed radio show, Planetary Radio.

Dr. Betts is well versed in the significance and science of the Cassini-Huygens mission, and on the sounds from the Huygens microphone.

Dr. Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society, helped found the organization in 1980 after 10 years working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he was involved in planning deep space missions. His projects included Mariner-Venus-Mercury, the Grand Tour (Voyager), Venus Orbital Imaging Radar (Magellan), the Mars Program, and the Halley Comet Rendezvous-Solar Sail. Currently, Friedman is also the Project Director for The Planetary Society’s Cosmos 1 solar sail project.

Dr. Friedman is an expert in domestic and international space policy and is dedicated to involving the public in space exploration.

Emily Lakdawalla is The Planetary Society’s Science and Technology Coordinator. She has been a guiding force behind several of the Society’s projects, such as the Red Rover Goes to Mars Student Astronaut program, Mars Stations, and the Huygens International Art contest, to name a few.

The Planetary Society invites the media to provide links to our Cassini-Huygens web resource so that the public can follow this exciting mission.

Planetary Society staff and officers are available for interviews about the sounds of Titan as well as other aspects of the mission. For more information about The Planetary Society or for interviews, please contact Susan Lendroth at 626-793-5100 ext 237.

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About The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a longtime member of The Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.