The largest satellite of the planet Saturn is considered to be the Titan, which despite the low air temperature and ice surface, the composition of its atmosphere and the stable presence of water is very similar to Earth in the early stages of its development. It interesting to scientists — it is expected that its underground reservoirs may exist visible to the naked eye microorganisms. Space Agency NASA intends to look for them in the framework of its next program, “Dragonfly” (Dragonfly).
The launch mission is planned until 2026 — in this case, according to scientists, the eponymous spacecraft reach Titan in 2034. As the temperature on Saturn is around -179 degrees Celsius, but the surface is almost completely covered by the liquid, the use of tracked and wheeled vehicles on a space object is simply impossible. Therefore, the Agency decided that the research unit will be made in the form of a helicopter.
The mission of Dragonfly in the search for life on Titan
The artistic representation of the flying machine Dragonfly above the surface of Titan
The size of the helicopter is comparable to studying Mars machine “Curiosity”, length, width and height which is 3,1×2,7×2.1 m. On the bottom of the helicopter will set slider to slide on the ice surface, and the edges will be located at the four propeller. It is expected that the device will be able to rise to the height of 4000 meters, to reach the speed of 36 kilometers per hour and at a time to overcome 8 kilometers.
In one day the unit will cover a distance of 175 kilometers, engaged in the study of the structure of the satellite and its meteorological parameters. The main place of work of the unit will be a 90-km impact crater to the Village, which has long been able to maintain the conditions for life of microscopic organisms.
Sea Lihei — the second largest hydrocarbon sea of Titan
Titan is not similar to any other object in the Solar system, and the Dragonfly is not like any other mission. We create helicopter will fly over the sand dunes, the largest moon of Saturn, exploring the processes that shape its extraordinary environment, explained Thomas Zurbuchen, assistant head of NASA’s scientific missions.
The launch Dragonfly
According to Zurbuchen, Agency NASA will explore a world filled with a variety of organic compounds that are the building blocks of life and can tell you about its origins. With the help of a rocket will be launched on the device is still unknown, but expect it to drop to the area of Titan called Shangri-La with the help of parachutes. The mission should last at least two years.
Titan is an interesting place not only for the search for extraterrestrial life, but also for colonization. This in 2018 was written in the journal of Astrobiology & Outreach — the authors believe that the massive reserves of hydrocarbons (on Earth in large quantities contained in crude oil) can be used by the colonists for the production of energy.
I advise you to read:Why a colony on Titan may be a better Martian?
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