NASA is funding the new “crazy” concept of sending a probe to Titan to collect samples and return them to Earth


May 19, 2021 01:26 GMT

Scientists say that Saturn’s largest moon “is an amazing world” that could provide clues to help us understand the origin of life on our planet.

A new concept proposed by scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research Center about the possibility of sending a lander to Saturn’s moon Titan. Was chosen For a grant from the Space Agency’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, it is worth $ 125,000 So that its promoters start studying the feasibility of their new ideas.

The team is currently exploring technologies that can do this Collect samples from Titan’s surface And bring it back to Earth for laboratory analysis, a journey that takes seven years in one direction and another seven years. Previously, the team at the Glenn Compass Laboratory envisioned a submarine concept that explored the shores and depths of Titan’s methane seas.

According to Compass lead research scientist Geoffrey Landis, “Titan is an amazing world.” “It is covered in organic compounds protected by a dense nitrogen atmosphere and on its surface It has seas of liquid natural gas The size and depth of Earth’s Great Lakes. Under its crust, Titan is an oceanic world, with a second ocean of liquid water hidden in the depths of the surface, ”Landis said.

Scientists also suggest that organic compounds on Titan’s surface and atmosphere may be “some of the.” The basic components of the solar system It can help us understand the origin of life on our planet. “

Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Director of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, explained that with the NIAC program, “the agency is embracing ‘crazy’ ideas that require a decade or more of development but may ultimately lead to groundbreaking innovations that contribute to new and exciting missions.” . I add that Today’s missions were ‘crazy’ ideas for years..

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NASA’s first mission to study Titan up close is called Dragonfly, and it is scheduled to launch in 2026. As part of the mission, an eight-blade helicopter has been planned to explore the atmosphere and surface of this exceptional, wealthy moon. Organic matter.

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Lovell Loxley

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