Nasa will fly a drone helicopter mission to cost $1bn (£800m) on Saturn’s moon, Titan, during the 2030s. The rotorcraft will visit many promising areas on Titan to research the science that could prompt life.
Titan plays host to a large number of the chemical forms that could have started science on the early Earth. The eight-rotor drone will be launched to the Saturnian moon in 2026 and touch base in 2034. It will take advantage of Titan’s thick environment to travel to various destinations of intrigue. Dragonfly was chosen as the following mission in Nasa’s New Frontiers program of medium-class planetary science missions.
It was in competition with the Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (CAESAR) mission, which would have conveyed an example from a comet to Earth. Titan has wind, waterways, oceans and lakes, much the same as Earth – yet with a fascinating twist.
The huge moon, it is second just in size to Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede has its very own occasional cycle, where wind and rainfall have shaped the surface to frame river channels, oceans, hills, and shorelines.
Dragonfly will be fueled by a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), which changes over the heat generated by the rot of radioactive material into power. While there is sufficient sunlight at Titan’s surface to see, there isn’t sufficient to utilize sun oriented power effectively.
Claude Denni was born and raised in San Jose. Claude has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Daily Democrat here in Californiar and NPR. As a journalist for Coastal Morning Star, Claude covers national and international developments.