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Science Channel Plans Titan-ic Effort

A mission to explore Saturn’s nitrogen-rich moon Titan -- the second-largest moon in the solar system and the only with its own atmosphere -- will be the subject of two one-hour specials on The Science Channel next month.

Both specials will introduce viewers to the scientists, spacecraft and technology involved in the multinational Cassini-Huygens Saturn mission, which hopes to learn secrets of the Earth’s evolution from Titan’s nitrogen and methane-rich environment, one similar to that on Earth billions of years ago.

Launched in October 1997, the mission traveled more 3.5 billion miles before beginning to orbit Saturn July 1. Monday, the Huygens probe separated from the Cassini orbiter and will free-fall to Titan for two and a half weeks before its scheduled touch-down on the moon Jan. 14.

At 8 p.m. on the eve of touchdown, Jan. 13, Rendezvous With Saturn’s Moon will premiere on The Science Channel. Touchdown night at 9 p.m., Touchdown on Saturn’s Moon will premiere on the network, airing footage from mission control at the European Space Agency in Germany, tracking the mission’s landing on Titan and showing the first data transmissions and photos sent from the probe.