Before it ended in 2017, Titan's Cassini mission flew while studying Saturn. The data from the Hyugens probe, which was part of the Cassini mission, indicated that Titan is the perfect candidate for further exploration.
"It's the first drone landing gear and can fly over 100 miles through Titan's thick atmosphere," he told NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement. "Titan is most similar to the early Earth, the dragonfly's instruments will help evaluate the organic chemistry and chemical signatures of past or present life, and we will launch Dragonfly to push the limits of human knowledge for the benefit of all humanity explore."
The New The Frontiers program also included the Juno mission to Jupiter, the New Horizons probe that visited Pluto in 201
The ultimate goal for Dragonfly is to visit a sinking crater where they meld the belief that important ingredients of life are mixed when titan was hit in the past, possibly tens of thousands of years ago.
It is a Rover-sized Mars drone that reaches ten feet in length.
Titan is chemically similar to Earth before life evolved, the agency said. They want to explore sand dunes on Titan to see if they are made of the same complex organic material that was discovered in the atmosphere.
"It is the science that motivates us to embark on this exciting and challenging mission," said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Science Deputy Administrator at the agency's headquarters in Washington.
"Titan has the key ingredients for life," said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division. "It has complex organic molecules and the energy needed for life, and we will have the opportunity to observe processes that are similar to those on the early Earth as life has formed, and potential conditions that affect today's life We can search for biosignatures. "
Once Dragonfly lands, it will take two and a half years to fly around Titan. There are only propellers with skids for landing, but no wheels for it to roam over the surface.
It will start in 2026, but will not reach Titan until 2034, because Saturn is so far from us.
Dragonfly will also study the atmosphere, surface properties, underground ocean, and liquid on Titan's surface.
Titan is not known as hospitable.
Titan is unique in our solar system and bigger than our own moon and the planet Mercury. It is the only moon with clouds and a dense atmosphere of nitrogen and methane that gives it a fuzzy orange look.
Its air pressure is 60% higher than that of Earth, which means that it exerts the pressure you feel on the ground a swimming pool, according to NASA. And the surface of Titan is minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit.
So it would make sense that the potential for life on Titan would have to look a little different than on our planet. But the Titan's atmosphere may not be much different from that of the ancient Earths – and life has found a way here.
Vinyl cyanide is a complex organic molecule that can form cell membrane-like spheres. Although it may sound toxic, this chemical would be at home on Titan, where significant amounts of it were detected by data from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), a group of radio telescopes in Chile.
Titan also has earth-like fluid bodies on its surface, but the rivers, lakes and seas are made up of liquid ethane and methane that make clouds and make liquid gas rain from the sky.
The surface temperature is so cold that the rivers and lakes were cut out with methane, as rocks and lava have helped to form features and canals on the earth.
These surface methane pools are the environment that could contribute to the formation of vinyl cyanide molecules Cell-like membranes bind the ground to organisms on Earth.
"The presence of vinyl cyanide in a liquid methane environment suggests the mesmerizing potential of chemical processes similar to those that are important to life on Earth," said Maureen Palmer, principal author and researcher at Goddard Space Flight Center of NASA.
"Researchers have finally discovered the vinyl cyanide molecule, which is our best candidate for a 'prototype cell' that could be stable and flexible in liquid methane," said Jonathan Lunine, a Cornell professor participated in the 2015 study. "This is a step forward to understanding if Titan's methane seas could harbor an exotic life form."