The Dragonfly mission reveals its grand exploration goals for Titan, one of the most Earth-like places in the Solar System.

Posted:

29 before 2021 13:20 GMT

This will be the first mission to explore closely the surface of this amazing world, which is covered in organic compounds.

The science team from NASA’s first mission to study Saturn’s most intriguing moon, Titan, has revealed its main targets in article In the Journal of Planetary Science. The mission, called Dragonfly (‘Dragonfly’), will be the first to closely explore this moon and Determine the detailed composition of your surface Rich in organic matter.

as in NASA, Titan’s surface is one of the most Earth-like places in the entire solar system, although its temperatures are much cooler and has a different chemistry.

As part of the new mission, it is planned to send it to the surface of Titan Portable Helicopter Landing Vehiclewhich is scheduled to be launched in the mid 2030s.

“represents titan Explorer’s Utopia. The scientific questions we ask about Titan are so broad because we don’t yet know much about what actually happens on its surface. For every question that we answered during the Cassini mission exploring Titan from orbit of Saturn, 10 new questions appeared,” said Alex Hayes, director of the Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science at Cornell University in the United States of America.

The mission will focus on searching for biochemical fingerprints, Investigation of the methane cycle and analysis of the prebiotic chemistry occurring on the surface and in the atmosphere of Titan.

Previous missions

Thanks to radar data and signals Infrared collection by Cassini mission NASA, which concluded in September 2017, was able to identify dozens of geological units on the satellite’s surface, such as plains, lakes, craters, sand dunes, areas of undulating terrain and some mysterious ‘mazes’. However, Titan’s thick atmosphere made it difficult to observe its surface in detail.

Saturn's largest moon already has a map showing all

At the same time, the Huygens probe landed on Titan in 2005 near the Xanadu region after separating from the Cassini orbiter and also provided important data on the moon. Now Titan’s low gravity and The atmosphere is four times as dense Earth would make it easier for an air craft to explore that natural satellite.

“The most exciting thing to me is that we’ve made predictions about what’s going on locally at the surface and how Titan works as a system, and the Dragonfly images and measurements will tell us how true or false they are,” Hayes said. .

During the Dragonfly mission, you are expected to spend an entire Titan day (the equivalent of 16 Earth days) in one location conducting scientific observations and experiments, and then fly to another location. The science team will have to make decisions about what the spacecraft will do next based on lessons learned from the previous location.

Unique world

Scientists say that the largest moon of Saturn is wonderful world It could provide clues to help us understand the origin of life on our planet. Titan is Covered with organic compounds It is protected by a dense atmosphere of nitrogen.

Illustrative image

On the moon there are big Marine liquid natural gas, while an ocean world extends beneath its crust. In addition, it has a meteorological system like Earth’s, although it rains methane instead of water.

It is suggested that organic compounds on Titan’s surface and atmosphere may be some of the The building blocks of the solar system that can help us Understanding the origin of life on our planet.

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