Planetary Society Report on ESA Huygens Press Conference

The Planetary Society weblog from Darmstadt has now wound down, but before they finished they reported on the last formal press conference about Huygens which contained lots of good details such as “they collected 3 hours and 37 minutes of data, of which 1 hour and 10 minutes was on the surface“, how far the “penetrometer” went into Titan’s surface and that there will be an official inquiry into why the A channel data was lost.

Huygens Probe Lands on Titan – First Image from Descent Released

The Hugens probe that piggy-backed to Saturn on the Cassini spacecraft has successfully landed on Titan and initial data indicates it has landed safely on a hard surface as opposed to making a splashdown. This ESA probe continued to send data for as least as long as Cassini was above the horizon.

NASA (who built the Cassini spacecraft) have put up a press release with the first raw image from the descent of Hugyens, though the image archive itself will be appearing here at the ESA’a website. However, connections to it are timing out at present.

Update: ESA now has that image too.

Here is that first Hugens image.

Huygens image from descent to Titan - Credit: ESA/NASA/University of Arizona

Credit: ESA/NASA/University of Arizona

White House Blocks Measure to Prevent Torture by the CIA

Reuters is reporting that the White House has intervened to block a measure that would have prohibited the CIA from torturing prisoners.

The Senate had approved the new restrictions, by a 96-2 vote, as part of the intelligence reform legislation, the article said. They would have explicitly extended to intelligence officers a prohibition against torture or inhumane treatment and would have required the CIA as well as the Pentagon to report to Congress about the methods they were using, said the report on the Times’ Web site.

Google News has lots more articles on it.

Apparently Condoleezza Rice, who will soon be representing the US to the world, said it:

“provides legal protections to foreign prisoners to which they are not now entitled under applicable law and policy,”

So much for the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which came into force in 1987 saying in Article 2:

  1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
  2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
  3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.