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Title: Exploring Titan with Huygens surface science package and the Huygens atmospheric structure instrument accelerometers
Author: Leese, Mark R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 1990
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2012
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The Huygens Surface Science Package and the Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument Accelerometers were instruments operating on the successful Huygens probe descent through the atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, on 14th January 2005. This thesis describes the analysis of these instrument designs, test, calibration and cruise data in order to prepare for the encounter with Titan. These essential analyses enabled the interpretation of these scientific measurements at Titan. The HASI Accelerometers made measurements during the probe entry phase, when the aerodynamic entry shield decelerated the probe from 6 km S-l to the ~340 m S-l required for safe parachute deployment. The entry accelerometer data were used to determine the density, pressure and temperature of Titan's atmosphere from ~1500 to 155 km altitude. Several measurements were made from both instruments during the probe descent, under parachute, through the Titan atmosphere. Analysis of these measurements provided evidence for a cloud layer between altitudes of 30 and 20 km. Measurements were made of the temperature, speed of sound and thermal conductivity in the lower atmosphere, and estimates were made of the methane mole fraction. The mission data were analysed in order to determine the physical nature of the surface of Titan at the Huygens probe landing site. At the Huygens landing site, the sensors measured a soft solid surface comprised of coarse sand-like particles, defined by the Udden-Wentworth scale (Wentworth, 1922), supporting pebbles. A 7 mm thick layer of very soft material covered the surface at the penetrometer location. The surface bearing strength was in the range from 50 to 250 kPa. There was evidence for a wet layer approximately 150 mm below the surface.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available