We got our best look at Saturn’s biggest moon Titan when European Space Agency’s Huygen probe was effectively dropped off on its surface by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on January 14, 2005 — the most distant consistently arriving from Earth of a spacecraft. Be that as it may, the probe came up short on battery control in just a few hours.
A group of researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory have been itching to return to Saturn’s hazy moon. In any case, this time, instead of sending a stationary probe, the group needs to send a drone that could investigate the moon from over its surface — however well underneath its thick, and nitrogen-rich environment.
“We didn’t know how Titan worked as a system before Cassini got there. We had tantalizing hints, but Cassini and Huygens really took it from [being] this mysterious moon to [being] a place that is incredibly familiar,” principal investigator for Dragonfly and scientist at Johns Hopkins University Elizabeth Turtle told Space.com.
The mission called Dragonfly could in the long run investigate the most encouraging, and possibly habitable sites on Titan. Researchers are wanting to exploit the moon’s low gravity, and thick atmosphere to visit various locales with the drone.
Also, the proposed mission may actually take shape — that is, if NASA picks it over an alternate finalist proposal in the not so distant future. NASA picked the two finalist ideas including Dragonfly for its next mid-2020s mission back in December 2017.
The group behind Dragonfly submitted an increasingly detailed concept back in December of a year ago, and are expecting a choice from NASA in the summer, Space.com reports. Whenever picked for the current year, the Dragonfly mission would dispatch around the year 2025 to arrive at Titan nine long years after the fact.
What’s more, they’re hopeful. “Not only is this an incredibly exciting concept with amazing, compelling science, but also, it is doable — it’s feasible from an engineering standpoint,” Melissa Trainer, Dragonfly’s deputy principal investigator, and scientist at NASA told Space.com.