Saturn Moon Mission
This artist’s rendering made available by NASA shows multiple views of the Dragonfly dual-quadcopter lander that would take advantage of the atmosphere on Saturn’s moon Titan to explore multiple locations, some hundreds of miles apart. On Thursday, June 2u7, 2019, NASA announced it would send the drone to the jovian planet’s largest moon. Scientists have long considered Titan an attractive place to study whether it would be capable of supporting microbial life. (NASA via AP)

 

By JEREMY REHM Associated Press

Get ready to see another world from the eyes of a dragonfly — at least, a robotic one.

NASA said Thursday that it’s sending a drone called Dragonfly to explore Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Using propellers, the drone will fly and land on several locations on the icy moon to study whether it can support microbial life.

The nuclear-powered mission is part of NASA’s competitive New Frontiers program, which launched the New Horizons spacecraft that became the first to visit dwarf planet Pluto.

Dragonfly beat out nearly a dozen proposed projects, including a mission to collect samples from a nearby comet. The drone is slated to launch in 2026 and arrive at Titan in 2034. The plan is to land on some of Titan’s dunes and later on a crater.

“What really excites me about this mission is that Titan has all the ingredients needed for life,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division.

Titan is a haze-covered world with a thick atmosphere. The moon has lakes of methane, mountains of ice and an ocean below the surface, making it an attractive place to explore whether its environment can support primitive life.

“We are absolutely thrilled, and everyone is just raring to go and take the next steps in exploring Titan,” said project leader Elizabeth Turtle of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. She added:

Titan was last studied by the international Cassini-Huygens mission. In 2017, the Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn, ending two decades of exploration.

___

Follow Jeremy Rehm on Twitter: @jrehm_sci

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

 

Contact mOppenheimTV

video-banner-fpo
Thank you for your interest in mOppenheimTV. Do you have a question or comment about our programs or services? Please get in touch with us! We welcome any feedback you may have.

Your Name (required)

Your Organization (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Phone (required)

Subject (required) - check any that apply
INSIGHTNonprofit SpotlightPBS CollaborationExecutive SearchOther

Your Message

To submit, please enter the characters below into the bottom field:
[recaptcha class:mtv-recaptcha]

NASA Plans to Send a Drone to Saturn’s Largest Moon

AP, Arts, Media & Culture, News |