NASA’s Dragonfly to Explore Titan, a Really Weird Moon #NASA #dragonfly #Saturn #explore

NASA's Dragonfly spacecraft, composit artist's image

Artist’s image of Dragonfly as it lands and explores Titan

If you’re a fan of exploring the solar system, you’ve heard of the nuclear powered, $1 billion dollar spacecraft, Dragonfly.

Elizabeth Turtle, the mission’s principle investigator at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, insists that this is actually a pretty tame space probe, as these things go. “There’s not a lot of new technology.”

If Dragonfly sounds like a crazy spacecraft, consider that Titan is a crazy moon, unlike any other moon or planet in the solar system. Though a little bit like Earth. It has lakes and rain.

The largest moon of Saturn, it has dunes, mountains, gullies and even rivers and lakes — though on Titan, it’s so cold the lakes are filled with liquid methane, not water.

Titan has one more feature that’s worth noting: Although its mainly nitrogen atmosphere is denser than Earth’s, its gravity is far lower. That makes it the perfect place to take to the skies. npr.org

Launch is still years away, but you can travel to Titan today, in scifi. I couldn’t resist sending a colony to the cold, deadly moon. But Fynn’s fellow colonists may be the greatest danger. Read it today.

Titan scifi book covers, ebook and paperback

Fynn learns the Kin’s secret when he’s shoved into a stasis pod. He’s going to colonize Titan with his father’s cult. Can they build a paradise? Not likely! Click now to find the book at Amazon. Kindle Unlimited too!

 

How to Explore a Planet? You Need to be Airborne! #poem #poetry #NASA #MAR2020 #drone

NASA concept - helicopter on Mars

NASA concept of a helicopter on Mars

Small
Autonomous
Rotorcraft,
About to leave for Mars.
No, it cannot fly through space.
It hitchhikes for the ride.
Once its rover host
Touches down
And backs off quite a ways,
Will relay orders from the Earth,
To test it makes the grade.
Can solar cells keep it charged,
And keep it warm at night?
Can it rise three meters high
On a ninety second flight?
Then we’ll have a helicopter
On another world.
As thrilling
A capability
As any that I’ve heard.

Kate Rauner

It may seem like a small step, but Mars’ atmosphere is like flying 100,000 ft above Earth’s surface, about three times the height of commercial airplanes. Many outlets cover this element of the Mars 2020 mission, including Reuters