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OU on the BBC: Destination Titan

Updated Wednesday, 6th June 2012

Destination Titan tells the fascinating story of John Zarnecki's personal space odyssey to land the Huygens probe on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

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Fantasy of balloon ride on Titan Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: NASA It's a voyage of exploration like no other - to Titan, Saturn's largest moon and thought to resemble our own early Earth. For a small team of British scientists this would be the culmination of a lifetime's endeavour - the flight alone, some 2 billion miles, would take a full seven years. This is the story of the space probe they built, the sacrifices they made and their hopes for the landing. Would their ambitions survive the descent into the unknown on Titan's surface?

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Destination Titan on TV

The landing on the Huygens probe on Titan was a moment Professor John Zarnecki, one of Huygens’ six principal scientists, had been building towards his whole life.

Featuring never-before-seen footage, and exclusive interviews with those involved, Destination Titan tells a story that spans nearly 50 years, from John’s childhood in the suburbs of north London, his inspirational boyhood encounter with the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, through the twists and turns of a distinguished career in space academia, to the surface of a world over a billion miles from Earth.

Destination Titan was first broadcast on Sunday 10th April on BBC Four at 10.00pm. Further broadcast details can be found at

Titan in more depth

Watch Professor Zarnecki lecture on a life in space





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