NASA chooses Saturn’s moon Titan as its next destination as part of Project DragonFly—a drone mission to explore Titan's surface over two years
Very exciting mission! Here is the NASA press release: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasas-dragonfly-will-fly-around-titan-looking-for-origins-signs-of-life/
I find the Juno mission fascinating! I look forward to reading about Dragonfly's discoveries!
The Dragonfly team just began answering questions for an AMA here.
I've been rooting for this mission for 5 years ... now I'm a bit disappointed. It will only travel 100 mi in its entire 2-yr mission? I was expecting at least equator-to-pole.
Sigh. Still awesome.
That would be over 100km a day, every single day for 2 years.
Opportunity managed a total of 45.16km in 14 years on Mars, and taught us so much. 175km of exploration on Saturn is going to be absolutely incredible!
Also don’t forget Opportunity managed to keep going for more than 50 times the “planned” mission.. so hopefully we get a lot more than the planned Saturn time too.
Titan equator-to-pole is ~2000km, roughly 2.5 km/day for 730 days. At 14kph, that's a bit more than 1 hour per week in the air.
But yeah, flying a drone around on Titan, even 175km, will be awesome.
My bad. It was late and I mixed up my numbers. But yeah the general point stands in the sense that travelling distance on a surface that far away is incredibly difficult. Getting even a few km traversed is going to be amazing. The entire mission is bonkers in the best possible way.
A 10' x 10' (3m x 3m) nuclear powered hexacopter! This scheme tingles all my nerd senses.
I realize that "nuclear powered" might not be the ideal way to describe a plutonium-fueled nuclear electric generator, but it does sound cool.