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Home / norway / NASA sends unmanned aerial vehicles to search for signs of life around Titan – NRK Viten – News in Science and Research

NASA sends unmanned aerial vehicles to search for signs of life around Titan – NRK Viten – News in Science and Research



Titan is an interesting destination for anyone who searches for living organisms. The Moon that circles around the planet Saturn has ice lakes and ocean of liquid methane and ethane.

NASA now plans to call the drone Dragonfly, landing on Titan 2034.

– This will be a very exciting project. In this mysterious month, there is the greatest chance of finding extraterrestrial life, says Pål Brekke, a senior researcher at the Norwegian Space Center.

Several researchers believe the conditions allow life to appear on Titan. Because there are both water and carbon. These are the building blocks needed for life, at least for life in the forms we know.

Pål Brekke is the head of the Norwegian Space Center

Pål Brekke is a senior researcher at the Norwegian Space Center, and previously worked for ESA and NASA.

Photo: Norwegian Space Center

– We believe that there is a great sea of ​​water beneath the frozen surface, and here forms of life may appear. But it is not certain that we will recognize it, because life processes are likely to slow down when it is so cold, says Brekke.

Because Titan, which is 1.4 billion miles away from Earth, is never warmer than 180 degrees Celsius.

Sea and lake

Titan was discovered in 1655 by Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens. But we just met in 2005 with a strange elliptical moon. As a NASA landcraft, Huygens, on the surface of Titan. He only survived two hours, but it was enough to send hundreds of pictures to the ground.

Over the next few decades, we gained more knowledge about Titan thanks to the unmanned Cassini aircraft, which sailed around Saturn. Every time Titan passed, he gave us important information.

Moon Titan

PLACE OF TITAN: By using a special filter, the camera on NASA's Cassini aircraft could look through the atmosphere of Saturn's Titan Month.

Photo: NASA

You have to examine building blocks of life

We know Titan has a great sea surface in a frozen state. Dragonfly will provide detailed observations and map out which chemical substances exist.

"It will be able to determine if there are traces of life or chemical processes that can stimulate life," says Brekke.

The knowledge that dances on Titan will also be able to say something about how life began on our planet, he believes.

She must fly around

Dragon Dragonfly to explore Titan is one quadcoptera multi-rotor helicopter that is lifted and driven by four rotors.

According to Pålu Brekke, this is an innovative project.

– Robots on Mars move very slowly and have a limited range. Dragonfly will be much more effective.

The Dragonfly was designed to capture the results of these researches and study them, says Dragonfly Elizabeth Turtle's head of the New Scientist magazine.

According to the journal, scientists have now received just over 850 million dollars to build a ship that goes to Titan.

This project is part of NASA's New Frontiers program where it is intended to examine several parts of our Solar System.

Here you can see the landing animation on Titan


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