After half a century since Apollo 11, NASA again plans to head for the moon. This time around, the new mission is targeting the moon Titan. Titan is the largest of Saturn’s moons.
NASA’s New Mission
To explore Titan, NASA is sending a rotorcraft, which is similar to a drone. The big announcement was made recently in a news teleconference by the space agency. The agency’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, shared the details of the exciting upcoming mission, known as Dragonfly.
Titan is a very special destination for NASA’s next mission to explore the solar system. This is because the large moon is similar to Earth in many ways.
One of the goals of Dragonfly is to evaluate how habitable Titan is by human beings. Other objectives of the mission include expanding current understanding of organic chemistry and looking for any chemical traces of any life form on Titan. The scientists also hope to learn more about Earth through any clues about the origins of life.
Before NASA decided on posting this mission, the team had to sift through a number of other proposals. The proposal for Dragonfly succeeded out of almost a dozen others. This makes it the next mission in the space agency’s New Frontier series. The first three missions in this series were New Horizons, which was a mission to Pluto, Juno, which explored Jupiter, and OSIRIS-REx, which aimed at exploring Bennu, an asteroid.
There is still a lot of work to be done before 2026 when Dragonfly is going to be launched. The journey to Titan is a very long journey, and NASA expects the spacecraft to reach its destination in 2034. Once there, the Dragonfly mission is also going to explore other locations.
Using a range of scientific instruments onboard Dragonfly, scientists are going to get real data about Titan’s terrain, chemistry, composition, as well as its seismic activity.