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NASA Announces New Dragonfly Drone Mission To Explore Titan

vendredi 28 juin 2019, 09:00 , par Slashdot
NASA announced Thursday that it is sending a drone-style quadcopter to Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Dragonfly, as the mission is called, will be capable of soaring across the skies of Titan and landing intermittently to take scientific measurements, studying the world's mysterious atmosphere and topography while searching for hints of life (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) on the only world other than Earth in our solar system with standing liquid on its surface. The New York Times reports: The mission will be developed and led from the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Laurel, Md. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch in 2026. Once at Titan in 2034, Dragonfly will have a life span of at least two-and-a-half years, with a battery that will be recharged with a radioactive power source between flights. Cameras on Dragonfly will stream images during flight, offering people on Earth a bird's-eye view of the Saturn moon. In addition to a camera, Dragonfly will carry an assortment of scientific instruments: spectrometers to study Titan's composition; a suite of meteorology sensors; and even a seismometer to detect titanquakes when it lands on the ground. Drills in the landing skids will collect samples of the Titan surface for onboard analysis.

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