Unmanned aerial vehicles “captured”almost all spheres of life on Earth. And now, it seems, the time has come to move these devices into space. One of the pioneers could be the Dragonfly drone, created at the Johns Hopkins University Laboratory of Applied Physics. Dragonfly, researchers say, can be used for research missions on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.
It is worth noting that the Dragonfly project isone of twelve projects reviewed by NASA executives as part of the New Frontiers space exploration program. Winners of the competition will receive funding for the implementation of their project.
Titanium Selected for Spacedrone "is not accidental. On Titan, low gravity, dense atmosphere without foreign flying objects. At the same time, the atmosphere of the satellite makes any technology for using solar energy ineffective. And the aircraft’s energy source will be the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), similar to the one installed on the Curiosity rover. At night, the generator charges the batteries of the drone, the charge of which is enough to make several sorties during the day with a total duration of about an hour. During the flight, the device will be able to overcome up to 20 kilometers. The mission is designed for 2 years, and during this time the drone will be able to explore a large portion of the satellite.
If everything goes according to plan, then by mid-2019, the final selection of the mission will be made, the launch of which is scheduled for 2025.