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Huygens Descending on Main Chute

The Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia has picked up the Huygens carrier signal, which should have been activated after the opening of the main chute and the dropping of the heat shield. The signal carries no data other than this: Huygens made it through the entry into Titan’s atmosphere. We should have data available by 1310 EST, routed from Huygens through Cassini. From an ESA press release:

What the Green Bank radio telescope has detected is only a ‘carrier’ signal. It indicates that the back cover of Huygens must have been ejected, the main parachute must have been deployed and that the probe has begun to transmit, in other words, the probe is ‘alive’. This, however, still does not mean that any data have been acquired, nor that they have been received by Cassini. The carrier signal is sent continuously throughout the descent and as such does not contain any scientific data. It is similar to the tone signal heard in a telephone handset once the latter is picked up.

Says Project Scientist Jean-Perre Lebreton, “It looks like we heard the baby crying.”

Update: ESA now reporting data as well as the carrier signal.