Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
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.
NASA announced that its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully touched down on the near-Earth asteroid Bennu after spending two years orbiting it. Its task was to grab a sample from the asteroid’s surface with its robotic arm. Bennu sits 200 million miles from Earth (so close) and NASA’s leadership was thrilled with this latest “first” — the […]
When a second-grade class wondered what would happen if a firefly went to space (would it still be able to light up in zero gravity?) their teacher, Maggie Samudio, helped them get the answer by helping her students send an experiment to space. As the New York Times reported, Blue Origin, the rocket company started […]
NASA announced this week that it would be changing the nicknames of any celestial bodies that are inappropriate such as “Eskimo Nebula” and “Siamese Twins Galaxy,” for example. CNN reported on the decision by the agency to re-examine its use of phrases for planets, galaxies, and other cosmic objects “as part of its commitment to […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.