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As the Verge explained, “a new mission involving a drone-like lander will explore the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. The mission — called Dragonfly — received a coveted funding slot from NASA’s New Frontiers program, which funds ambitious missions to explore objects in our solar system.” Titan is the only moon in our solar system that has an atmosphere and conditions that are most like Earth’s.
Dragonfly’s Mission: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. “Titan is most comparable to early Earth. Dragonfly’s instruments will help evaluate organic chemistry and the chemical signatures of past or present life. We will launch Dragonfly to explore the frontiers of human knowledge for the benefit of all humanity.” As CNN explained, “the ultimate goal is for Dragonfly to visit an impact crater, where they believe that important ingredients for life mixed together when something hit Titan in the past, possibly tens of thousands of years ago.”
Why This Matters: While Titan may not be home to the aliens of Hollywood, in 2017 researchers confirmed the presence of a building block substance that may lead to life on Titan. The moon has extreme conditions not making it possible for humans to explore but crafts will be able to venture past its thick atmosphere to perhaps answer questions about what life there could look like. Additionally, Titan’s conditions mirror that of primordial Earth so it could give scientists insights into our own history as well. But don’t expect news from Dragonfly to come anytime soon as the craft will launch in 2026, but won’t actually reach Titan until 2034.
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer While going to space has been one big step for mankind, it could also be one big step backward for the environment. Tesla’s SpaceX Starship launched earlier this year, which triggered a fireball to explode on the launchpad. This explosion shot debris across the Boca Chica tract of the […]
“Arguably, the light bulb is the most transformative invention humans have introduced to this planet. But if light bulbs have a dark side, it’s that they have stolen the night.” Nadia Drake, a contributing writer for national geographic, says that losing our connection to the night sky is one of the world’s great tragedies. But now, […]
In the span of two weeks, two of the world’s richest men blasted off to suborbital space with the intended goal of promoting commercial spaceflight. This past week, Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos took his trip on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. This prompted questions about the environmental impact of private space travel. The […]
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