Scientists say Titan is easily comparable to early conditions on Earth and could provide an idea of how life as we know it on Earth came into existence.
Set to launch in 2026, the Dragonfly mission will arrive at Titan in 2034 where it will explore a multitude of diverse locations looking for prebiotic chemical processes that are common to both Titan and Earth.
In addition to studying this "pre-biotic chemistry", Dragonfly carries instruments that can investigate the moon's atmosphere and the water-ammonia ocean thought to lie beneath its surface. The spacecraft will also explore the composition of Titan's atmosphere, subsurface ocean and liquid reservoirs. "Additionally, instruments will search for chemical evidence of past or extant life".
Advancing our search for the building blocks of life, the Dragonfly mission will fly multiple sorties to sample and examine sites around Saturn's icy moon.
Saturn's Moon Titan has its own seasonal cycles, winds, river, and lakes but with an exotic twist.
It is the second largest moon in our solar system, being even bigger than the planet Mercury, and the air in it is actually rather similar to Earth's in that it is mostly nitrogen.
The craft will first land on Titan's equator to explore the region, and will then move around the area in short trips. The weather is more complex, with surface processes combining complex organics, energy and water which could have brought life to Earth during its early history.Читайте также: Rocket Mortgage Classic: Anirban Lahiri tied-55th after first round
"What really excites me about this mission is that Titan has all of the key ingredients needed for life", said Dr Lori Glaze, the director of planetary science at Nasa.
The lander could eventually fly more than 175km (108 miles) - almost double the distance travelled to date by all Mars rovers combined.
"Titan is unlike any other place in the solar system, and Dragonfly is like no other mission", said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for science at the agency's headquarters in Washington.
It will finally reach the Selk impact crater, where there is evidence of past liquid water and organics - the complex carbon-based molecules that are vital for life. As it orbits Saturn, it is about 886 million miles away from the Sun, about 10 times farther than Earth.
NASA notes this mission will be the first time the agency flies a multi-rotor aircraft or vehicle on another planet in the name of science. "We are absolutely thrilled, and everyone is just raring to go and take the next steps in exploring Titan".
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"We're absolutely thrilled and ready to jump on it and get going to go to Titan", Turtle said on a NASA webcast.При любом использовании материалов сайта и дочерних проектов, гиперссылка на обязательна.
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