NASA approves mission to Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Nearly five years after announcing its intention to travel to the distant satellite, a US agency has approved an initiative that will cost $3.35 billion. NASA hopes this mission will help us find answers to questions about the origin of life on Earth.

In accordance with ArsTechnikaThe space agency has confirmed that The mission will launch in July 2028 with the goal of reaching Saturn’s moon in 2034.. To do this, NASA will rely on the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which will build a drone with a nuclear engine.

The mission will last three years, during which Dragonfly will visit more than 30 locations Distributed throughout the equatorial region of Titan. To do this, the vehicle will use eight rotors that will allow it to move and transport tools. drone will analyze the composition of the surface and atmospherein search of prebiotic chemical processes

Titan is a celestial rarity in our solar system. This is the only known moon that exists It has a dense atmosphere and contains liquid seas. on its surface. Scientists believe this methane-rich environment resembles the early Earth, making it an ideal candidate for searching for clues about the origins of life.

Dragonfly will directly investigate the presence of organic materials and evaluate Titan’s potential for supporting life.

Mission to Titan will be one of NASA’s most expensive

Dragonfly, NASA’s drone that will fly to Titan

NASA’s new adventure will explore the ocean world beyond Earth. Dragonfly was announced in 2019 with an eye toward a 2027 release, however was postponed due to financial problems. At a meeting of the Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) last November, NASA planetary science chief Laurie Glaze said there were doubts about the availability of funding for the next two years.

After months of uncertainty, NASA gave the go-ahead. The space agency’s 2025 budget includes $2.73 billion for robotic planetary exploration, a significant portion of which will be dedicated to Dragonfly. He The total cost of the mission has risen to $3.35 billion.reflecting necessary design adjustments, pandemic-related supply chain issues, and the use of a more powerful launch vehicle to speed up flight.

This mission doesn’t start from scratchor. Several key components, including navigation and control systems, have undergone rigorous testing here on Earth. Last year engineers tested twin dragonfly in California dunes simulating the terrain of Titan.

“Dragonfly is an exciting science mission of widespread public interest, and we are excited to take the next steps in this mission,” said Nicky Fox, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

The space agency will use data from the Cassini probe to make landings in selected areas. drone It will withstand temperatures of around -179°C. once it lands on Titan’s surface in December 2034.

Source: Hiper Textual

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