In January 2005,The European Space Agency, from ESA, had successfully landed on the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. An unprecedented technological achievement, it was also the first time the surface of this world was discovered, whose thick atmospheric layer makes it very difficult to see, whether from Earth or in orbit. The Cassini probe, which flew by dozens of times, brought back more questions than answers!
During the 2030s, NASA plans to send a drone to explore this unique world in the Solar System. This drone will be launched in 2026 and should join Saturn’s largest satellite in 2034. The exobiology of Titan is at the heart of Dragonfly’s mission, which should significantly strengthen our knowledge of the origin and evolutionary history of life on Titan and Earth. . Published by the Dragonfly Science Team on July 19In planetary science magazine. The article’s lead author is Jason Barnes, Associate Principal Investigator at Dragonfly and Professor of Physics at the University of Idaho.
Titan and Earth are the only two objects in the Solar System that have a nitrogen-rich atmosphere. But the second most abundant element in Titan is methane and not oxygen as is the case with Earth’s atmosphere. We also know a meteorological system like Earth with the difference that water is replaced by methane.
Elizabeth Turtle of the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University (APL) and Dragonfly’s scientific director detail the mission with ambitious goals. © APL, YouTube
Can methane replace water in the life cycle?
This analogy with the Earth is remarkable in that it…
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