This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

Issue Features
Reason and Revelation Volume 25 #2

Cassini—Huygens Spacecraft Mission

by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

On December 24, 2004, the spacecraft that has been orbiting Saturn—Cassini—deployed a gold, wok-shaped disc known as the Huygens probe. On January 14, 2005, that particular spacecraft was scheduled to descend to Saturn’s largest moon—Titan. The 705-pound science probe will be the first manmade object to descend to the surface of another planet’s moon. The cost for the Cassini-Huygens project was $3.27 billion dollars. Why would we spend so much money to analyze a moon from a distant planet? In a single word—life. Many scientists have abandoned past research projects to focus on a new area, astrobiology. Astrobiology—a field that has mushroomed from obscurity to the front page of the local newspaper—is the study of life in the Universe.

Bear in mind that we’ve established an entire field of science, even though life has never been found outside of the Earth. Also recognize that the surface temperature of Titan is believed to be approximately 200° below zero, which scientists acknowledge would be far too harsh to sustain life. (All life forms need liquid water, and this temperature would be too cold for that.) But speculations abound, and the push to find life “out there” continues.

Jeffrey L. Bada has provided some valuable insight as to why this search continues. Having reviewed a new book titled The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology, Bada observed:

Today, it seems nearly everyone is an astrobiologist. A decade ago, I knew essentially none. Why this sudden obsession with a field that encompasses so many diverse areas in both the physical and life sciences? So far, life has not been found to exist away from Earth, although the surge in interest in astrobiology suggests there is intense optimism within at least parts of the science community that this singularity will change in the future. But scientific curiosity alone likely cannot explain the explosive growth of astrobiology. After reading The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology, I came to the conclusion that one of the field’s attractions was money—and lots of it (2005, 307:46, emp. added).

A case in point? The Huygen’s probe. We often are asked why scientists continue pursuing research that is known to be false (e.g., evolution). Bada’s conclusion sums it up: “Money—and lots of it.”


Bada, Jeffrey L. (2005), “A Field With a Life of Its Own,” Science, 307:46, January 7.

Copyright © 2005 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, excepting brief quotations, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Web Store

Defending the Faith Study Bible

We are very excited to announce the NEW AP Defending the Faith Study Bible now available.

Featured Audio


Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio