The Dragonfly drone has been selected as the next New Frontiers mission, this time to Saturn’s moon Titan. (NASA)
A vehicle that flies like a drone and will try to unravel some of the mysteries of Saturn’s moon Titan was selected yesterday to be the next New Frontiers mission to explore the solar system.
Searching for the building blocks of life, the Dragonfly mission will be able to fly multiple sorties to sample and examine sites around Saturn’s icy moon.
Titan has a thick atmosphere and features a variety of hydrocarbons, with rivers and lakes of methane, ethane and natural gas, as well as and precipitation cycles like on Earth. As a result, Dragonfly has been described as an astrobiology mission because it will search for signs of the prebiotic environments like those on Earth that gave rise to life.
“Titan is unlike any other place in the solar system, and Dragonfly is like no other mission,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science at the agency headquarters in Washington.
“It’s remarkable to think of this rotorcraft flying miles and miles across the organic sand dunes of Saturn’s largest moon, exploring the processes that shape this extraordinary environment. Dragonfly ...