Why We Need To Explore Saturn's Giant Moon Titan

Jan 2016
57,388
54,177
Colorado
#11
A lot of people are thinking about the possibilities for life on Titan these days:

Life on Titan - Wikipedia

And these are the two missions that are being considered for the further exploration of Titan:

The proposed Titan Mare Explorer mission, a Discovery-class lander that would splash down in a lake, "would have the possibility of detecting life", according to astronomer Chris Impey of the University of Arizona.[48]

The newly announced Dragonfly rotorcraft probe mission is intended to land on solid ground and relocate many times. Dragonfly is a New Frontiers-class program. An aim of the mission is to find out how far Titan's “rich organics may have ascended up the ‘ladder of life’ “.[49] Dragonfly will carry equipment to study the chemical composition of Titan's surface, and to sample the lower atmosphere for possible biomarkers, including hydrogen concentrations.[49]
Great news from that last link: The Dragonfly mission to Titan was just APPROVED, as of TODAY!!

Dragonfly is a planned spacecraft and mission that will send a mobile robotic rotorcraft lander to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, in order to study prebiotic chemistry and extraterrestrial habitability at various locations where it will perform vertical-takeoff and landings (VTOL).[4][5][6]

Titan is unique in having an abundant, complex, and diverse carbon-rich chemistry on the surface of a water-ice-dominated world with an interior water ocean, making it a high-priority target for astrobiology and origin of life studies.[4] The mission was proposed in April 2017 to NASA's New Frontiers program by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and it was selected as one of two finalists (out of twelve proposals) in December 2017 to further refine the mission's concept.[7][8] On June 27, 2019, Dragonfly was selected to become the fourth mission in the New Frontiers program.[9]
 
Likes: Spookycolt
Jan 2016
57,388
54,177
Colorado
#12
Great news from that last link: The Dragonfly mission to Titan was just APPROVED, as of TODAY!!

Dragonfly is a planned spacecraft and mission that will send a mobile robotic rotorcraft lander to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, in order to study prebiotic chemistry and extraterrestrial habitability at various locations where it will perform vertical-takeoff and landings (VTOL).[4][5][6]

Titan is unique in having an abundant, complex, and diverse carbon-rich chemistry on the surface of a water-ice-dominated world with an interior water ocean, making it a high-priority target for astrobiology and origin of life studies.[4] The mission was proposed in April 2017 to NASA's New Frontiers program by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and it was selected as one of two finalists (out of twelve proposals) in December 2017 to further refine the mission's concept.[7][8] On June 27, 2019, Dragonfly was selected to become the fourth mission in the New Frontiers program.[9]
Here are more details on the just-approved Titan Dragonfly mission!

NASA announces new mission to explore the solar system - CNN

It will arrive on Titan in the year 2034. I hope I am still alive to see the results! I will be 79 years old that year, toward the end of the year. I think I will be 78 when Dragonfly arrives.

This will be one of the COOLEST missions that NASA has yet undertaken!
 
Likes: EnigmaO01
May 2012
68,859
13,742
By the wall
#13
I'm guessing our manned missions won't be too far behind that date either.

Seems we are already gearing up for them so that should be enough time to keep working out the kinks and actually maybe even try a couple.

If this mission does find something interesting there I could see NASA or the world sending a team there to investigate.
 
Jan 2016
57,388
54,177
Colorado
#14
I'm guessing our manned missions won't be too far behind that date either.

Seems we are already gearing up for them so that should be enough time to keep working out the kinks and actually maybe even try a couple.

If this mission does find something interesting there I could see NASA or the world sending a team there to investigate.
I think it will be MANY decades before we are ready to being talking about manned expeditions to Saturn. Not until at least the second half of the century. That's just my opinion, naturally.
 
Likes: EnigmaO01
Jan 2014
18,163
5,172
California
#15
Titan gets my vote for the most bizarre place-----other than Earth!-----in the Solar System. The only other planetary-sized body that we know of that has extensive bodies of liquid on its surface-----one of the lakes on Titan is as large as the Caspian Sea, the largest lake on Earth. And the atmosphere is half again as dense as Earth's atmosphere. And we are now learning more about how exotic the chemistry might be that is going on around the shorelines of those lakes:

'Bathtub rings' around Titan's lakes might be made of alien crystals

There ARE plans afoot at NASA for a probe that would float on one of these Titanian lakes and do all kinds of analysis, but it might not leave until the late 2020's, and would then not arrive on site until the mid-2030's. Wish we could speed that up!
Mr. Leroy,

I think we need to be very careful. That water in titan's lakes could turn out to be Ice-9.
 

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