NASA will fly a drone helicopter mission to cost $1bn (£800m) on Saturn’s moon, Titan, in the 2030s. The rotorcraft will visit dozens of promising locations on Titan to investigate the chemistry that could lead to life. Titan plays host to many of the chemical processes that could have sparked biology on the early Earth. The eight-rotor drone will be launched to the Saturnian moon in 2026 and arrive in 2034. It will take advantage of Titan’s thick atmosphere to fly to different sites of interest.
This week: 🚁 A new mission to Saturn’s largest Moon Titan 🚀 Launching new missions & landing astronauts 🎛️ Restoring the glory to the Apollo Mission Control RoomThere are a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA! Watch: https://t.co/6W32QXoxZI pic.twitter.com/YxTOloOI74— NASA (@NASA) June 29, 2019
This week: 🚁 A new mission to Saturn’s largest Moon Titan 🚀 Launching new missions & landing astronauts 🎛️ Restoring the glory to the Apollo Mission Control Room
There are a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA! Watch: https://t.co/6W32QXoxZI pic.twitter.com/YxTOloOI74
— NASA (@NASA) June 29, 2019
“Visiting this mysterious ocean world could revolutionize what we know about life in the universe, ” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. “This cutting-edge mission would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago, but we’re now ready for Dragonfly’s amazing flight.”
“During its 2.7-year baseline mission, Dragonfly will explore diverse environments from organic dunes to the floor of an impact crater where liquid water and complex organic materials key to life once existed together for possibly tens of thousands of years,” NASA said in a statement.
“Its instruments will study how far prebiotic chemistry may have progressed. They also will investigate the moon’s atmospheric and surface properties and its subsurface ocean and liquid reservoirs” “Additionally, instruments will search for chemical evidence of past or extant life.”
Dragonfly will be powered by a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), which converts the heat released by the decay of a radioactive material into electricity. While there is enough sunlight at Titan’s surface to see, there is not enough to use solar power efficiently.
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18 July, 2019