NASA Will Send a Helicopter to Hunt for Life on Saturn’s Biggest Moon

On Wednesday, NASA announced it will send a spacecraft to the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon and one of the leading candidates for finding extraterrestrial microbial life in our solar system. The Dragonfly mission will involve a small, drone-like rotorcraft lander that will be able to fly in small hops across Titan’s surface, covering more distance during its two-year mission than any planetary rover in history.

Dragonfly is scheduled to launch in 2025 and will land on Titan in 2034, after a 840-million-mile journey from Earth. Once the Dragonfly craft lands on the surface of the moon, it will use its eight rotors to perform short flights once every Titan day (about 16 Earth days). According to its initial designs, the craft will be able to propel itself at about 20 miles per hour and fly to altitudes of a little over 2 miles. It will be powered by the heat produced by the decay of plutonium-238.

Despite the Dragonfly spacecraft’s unique flying abilities, most of its time on Titan will be spent on the surface. During its approximately two-year mission, Dragonfly will study the moon’s atmospheric and geologic composition, survey the landscape, and probe for conditions and chemicals relevant to biological processes.

The surface of Titan is extremely varied, with rivers, lakes, and oceans of liquid methane and ethane etching the moon’s water-ice bedrock. A narrow band of sand dunes, perhaps formed by methane rain eroding the water-ice, rises hundreds of feet above the surface and stretches hundreds of miles around Titan’s equator. Beneath Titan’s water-ice crust is a vast, planet-wide ocean that some scientists suspect may harbor microbial life.

hop over to here
hop over to these guys
hop over to this site
hop over to this web-site
hop over to this website
how much is yours worth?
how you can help
i loved this
i thought about this
i was reading this
image source
in the know
index
informative post
inquiry
internet
investigate this sitekiller deal
knowing it
learn here
learn more
learn more here
learn the facts here now
learn this here now
like it
like this
link
[link]
linked here
listen to this podcast
look at here
look at here now
look at more info
look at these guys
look at this
look at this now
look at this site
look at this web-site
look at this website
look here
look these up
look what i found
love it
lowest price
made a post
made my day
more
more about the author
more bonuses
more help
more helpful hints
more hints
more info
more info here
more information
more tips here
more..
moreÂ…
moved here
my company
my explanation
my latest blog post
my response

Titan is of great interest to astrobiologists because its thick nitrogen- and methane-rich atmosphere provides the necessary ingredients for creating the complex organic molecules called tholins that, when exposed to water on Titan’s surface, may yield amino acids—the building blocks of life. Furthermore, environmental conditions on Titan appear to be similar to those found on early, prebiotic Earth. This means that not only is Titan a leading candidate for finding extraterrestrial microbial life in its subsurface ocean, it may also help us better understand how life arose on Earth.

Much of what we know about Titan was only discovered in the past two and a half decades. When the Voyager spacecraft flew by in the 1970s, it was unable to see through the moon’s atmosphere, which is twice as thick as Earth’s. The world got its first look at Titan’s surface in the 1990s with the infrared sensors on the Hubble Space Telescope, but it wasn’t until the Huygens probe landed on the moon’s surface in 2005 that scientists could say with much certainty what conditions on Titan were like.

The Huygens probe was carried to Titan by the Cassini orbiter, which deposited it on the moon after mapping most of its surface. The Huygens probe landed in what appeared to be a dry lakebed and sent back the first picture from Titan’s surface. It revealed a barren landscape strewn with small rocks made of water-ice under an orange sky. The Huygens probe continued to send data back to Cassini for about an hour and a half after landing, before its battery died as planned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *