NASA sends a research helicopter to Saturn's moon Titan: when and where will it land
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Titan is one of the most mysterious worlds in the solar system, so NASA will send a Dragonfly there in a few years.
Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. It is almost 2 times smaller than the Earth in diameter (5150 km), there are rivers, lakes and possibly even seas. But they do not contain water, but methane. It also rains methane on Titan and is covered in hydrocarbon sand dunes. This is one of the most mysterious worlds in our solar system, so NASA wants to study it carefully. To do this, in 2027, the Dragonfly aircraft will go to Titan, which will reach the surface of Saturn's moon in 2034, writes ScienceAlert.
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The Dragonfly spacecraft is to land among the sand dunes in a region near Titan's equator called Shangri-La, near the 90 km diameter Selk Crater. The aircraft resembles a helicopter, which has 8 blades about 1 meter long. The weight of the apparatus will be approximately 450 kg. Dragonfly will be able to reach speeds of up to 36 km/h in Titan's atmosphere.
Titan is a bit like the Earth, because it rains and there are rivers and lakes. Although this satellite of Saturn, which is the second largest satellite in the solar system, of course, has significant differences from our planet. It has a very dense atmosphere, rains and lakes are composed of methane, and the air temperature is -180 degrees Celsius. And a day here lasts about 16 Earth days.
Titan was discovered back in 1655 by astronomer Christian Huygens, but it was not until 2005 that the only terrestrial apparatus called Huygens descended to its surface. Now, scientists want to get the most complete picture of what Titan is like with the help of a new aircraft.
The scientists chose the helicopter landing site using images taken in the early 2000s by the Cassini spacecraft, and data from the Huygens spacecraft were also used.
Scientists want to know as accurately as possible what the surface of Titan looks like in the area of the landing site of the Dragonfly helicopter, as well as the surrounding regions.The flight of this scientific apparatus is compared with the arrival of the Curiosity rover on Mars, which helped to learn a lot about the Red Planet.Now a similar mission is entrusted to the aircraft, but in the study of Titan.
NASA expects that the spacecraft will be able to successfully operate on Titan for more than two years And during this time, he will have to cover a distance of almost 200 km.
Focus already wrote about testing a prototype Dragonfly helicopter in the American desert, which is on commemorates the surface of Titan.
As Focus already wrote, scientists have figured out how giant sand dunes formed on Titan.