NASA plans to send a drone to Saturn's largest moon, Titan

This artist’s rendering made available by NASA shows multiple views of the Dragonfly dual-quadcopter lander

Rich in organic compounds that make up the building blocks of life, Titan is considered by many scientists to be an analogue of early Earth. Taking advantage of Titan's dense atmosphere and low gravity, Dragonfly will explore dozens of locations across the icy world, sampling and measuring the compositions of Titan's organic surface materials to characterize the habitability of Titan's environment and investigate the progression of prebiotic chemistry.

Some of these locales include organic dunes to the floor of an impact crater where liquid water and complex organic materials may once have existed.

Fly, dragonfly " Visiting this mysterious ocean world could revolutionize what we know about life in the universe, " said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

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. Also, for chemical evidence of past and extant life.

NASA is going to Titan (Saturn's Moon) in search of building blocks of life. First, the Cassini spacecraft managed to capture the dust storms happening across the surface of this largest of Saturn's moons and just a few days ago, we were told that Titan's lakes might actually be surrounded by crystals.

According to NASA's announcement, Dragonfly will perform plenty of flybys and examine different locations on Titan which could support chemical processes that are also common on Earth.

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Another similarity between Earth and Titan is the atmosphere, which is rich in 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 moon's weather and surface processes have combined complex organics, energy, and water similar to those that may have sparked life on our planet".

Dragonfly is the fourth solar system exploration mission selected under NASA's New Frontiers program, a series of missions including the New Horizons probe launched in 2006 to study Pluto and OSIRIS-REx, which launched in 2016 to study the rocky asteroid Bennu.

If there's one thing you can definitely say about NASA, it's that they sure do like to plan ahead. It orbits Saturn and is located about 886 million miles from the sun, making it 10 times farther from the sun than Earth. "And then they drift down out of the atmosphere to the surface nearly like a light snow", says Curt Niebur, lead program scientist for NASA's New Frontiers Program.

"What really excites me about this mission is that Titan has all the ingredients needed for life", said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's planetary science division.

The moon is probably the most promising spot in the solar system because of its thick atmosphere, methane deposits, ice formations, and vast oceans.

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