When Cassini reaches Saturn, a long burn of its engines will slow it so it is captured by the planet's gravitational field into an elliptical orbit. At the extreme point of this initial orbit, a manoeuvre will direct it to pass close to Titan Image: ESA
3 January 2005 Global cooperation will see yet another frontier breached in the next week as the European Space Agency's Huygens probe makes its descent towards the surface of Saturn's largest and most mysterious moon, Titan. The European Space Agency's Huygens probe was successfully released by NASA's Cassini orbiter on Christmas Day and is now on a controlled collision course toward Titan, where on 14 January it will make a descent through one of the most intriguing atmospheres in the solar system to an unknown surface. This will be the first man-made object to explore in-situ this unique environment, whose chemistry is assumed to be very similar to that of the early Earth just before life began, 3.8 billion years ago.