Titan is Saturn’s largest satellite and second largestthe largest satellite of the solar system after Ganymede. The terrain on Titan with its methane lakes strongly resembles a scene from some sci-fi horror movie. So that one day we can see the landscapes of Titan with our own eyes, NASA experts plan to send shape-changing amphibian robots to study gas tanks on Saturn's largest moon.
Why do we need to explore Titan?
Titanium is the only body in the solar system, onthe surface of which there are reservoirs of liquid proven by science. In addition, the satellite of Saturn can also boast of its dense atmosphere, which provides constant pressure on the surface of the satellite in 1.5 times the Earth's. Titanium has a large stock of hydrocarbons, providing almost all of the earth's technology with the energy necessary for work. The Cassini mission, launched to Saturn back in 1997, showed the presence on the satellite of multi-kilometer lakes, completely consisting of methane and ethane, found on Earth only in gaseous form. In order to study the structure of the discovered lakes, scientists plan to send several mini-robots that can be combined into one regular-sized bot. Robot development is currently underway at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
See also: Is there life on Titan?
Which robots will go to Titan?
Robots to be sent to Titan inin the mid-2020s, they will not only have to plow the satellite’s surface, as the Martian rovers do, but will also have the opportunity to swim along methane lakes, fly over canyons and satellite falls. It is in order to provide incredible versatility when using extraterrestrial automatic devices, NASA hopes to send a futuristic-looking flying sphere in the vicinity of Saturn, which breaks up into parts to perform various tasks.
Despite the fact that the robot is currentlymore like a drone with a pair of disproportionate wheels attached to its sides, the researchers say that now the unique device is ready to launch into the sky as part of verification experiments.
By the way, currently distant Titanis one of the most likely candidates for human colonization. In your opinion, will the transportation of minerals from this satellite to our planet be cost-effective for earthlings? Let's try to discuss this issue in our Telegram chat.
In total, a team of scientists hopesbuild a group of 12 robots that can explore both underwater terrain and deep, rocky caves. Due to the fact that at present mankind has very limited data on what exactly the surface of Titan is, the researchers intend to create devices capable of analyzing and extracting data about the satellite of Saturn in any conditions and types of terrain.
So, the space agency is developing andthe famous Dragonfly project aimed at studying the viability of a satellite and the likelihood of organic chemistry appearing on it. The launch of Dragonfly is scheduled for 2026, and the spacecraft’s flight to Saturn will take about 8 years. It is believed that in the event of a successful landing, Dragonfly in 2.5 years of its work will be able to collect such an amount of information about Titan that can make Saturn’s satellite one of the most studied human cosmic bodies.