Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: NASA plans to explore Titan moon with drones

June 20, 2014

NASA plans to explore Titan moon with drones

Dear readers and followers,

NASA has really great plans for space exploration. The US space agency wants to search Saturn's moon Titan for life but they're having trouble coming up with a good way to cover a large territory and obtain samples. For this, they think they may have a good solution: A 22-pound quadcopter that will work from a mothership.

Despite brisk temperatures of -290 degrees F, Saturn's giant Titan moon is of great interest to scientists, thanks to Earth-like geography, hydrocarbon "lakes" and even possible life. Though NASA's Cassini-Huygens probe visited Titan some time ago, the space agency would like to return at some point -- this time with a quadrotor. 
Using the latest drone and sensor tech, it would weigh less than 10kg, deploy from a recharging nuclear "mothership" balloon and acquire high-res images from close to the surface. With the benefit of that reconnaissance, it could land at promising spots, take microscopic photos and scoop up samples to be analyzed later by the mothership. NASA plans to develop the mission concepts further and design the drone in collaboration with AeroVironment.

Stay tuned.


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