Merry Christmas Titan! — though the gift will be delivered late. A quick check on the Cassini-Huygens mission (all’s going ridiculously well so far, next Titan flyby in seven days) shows that the Huygens probe will be released on December 25, with it arriving at Titan three weeks later. It really has been an astonishing year in terms of solar system exploration — Spirit and Opportunity on Mars (Spirit has lasted over 300 Martian days, which is really just wonderful), the seeming disaster of the Genesis solar wind probe return apparently mitigated by some excellent recovery work, the launch of the Mercury Messenger probe and Cassini’s flawless work at Saturn so far — that a successful separation of Huygens would be the perfect topper. Roll on 2005!