Dragonfly drone helicopter: NASA will explore life on Titan in 2026

Wasim Raza

This illustration shows NASA’s Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander approaching a site on Saturn’s exotic moon, Titan. Taking advantage of Titan’s dense atmosphere and low gravity, Dragonfly will explore dozens of locations across the icy world, sampling and measuring the compositions of Titan’s organic surface materials to characterize the habitability of Titan’s environment and investigate the progression of prebiotic chemistry.
Credits: NASA/JHU-APL


NASA is preparing to send its Dragonfly Drone to Titan, the second of its kind drone, after mars helicopter ingenuity to fly above the surface of another world.

Although its design is still under process, it’s above the size of a small car.

Since under Titan extreme atmosphere, dragonfly can’t use solar power so NASA decided to use a unique Engine which is powered by a multi-mission Radioisotope thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG).

The dual helicopter can travel to tens of miles in a single take flight

Dragonfly tools include a neutron spectrometer and a gamma-ray to analyze the elements under its ski-like legs. A meteorology sensor will check out the surface and atmospheric conditions. While during in flight it will provide images of the surface and give context for surface measurements and scouting of sites

It also contains a UV light to detect fluorescent and molecules.

Dragonfly must be able to survive in Harsh cold-like ingenuity since titan temperature can reach negative 300 degrees compared to about 100 below on Mars

Dragonfly project is aiming to search for life on titan

Does it exists or ever existed!!

Near constant twilight and fugacious liquid water. What kind of life could survive in such an environment? That’s what dragonfly will try to investigate.

Titan’s surface has lakes, rivers, and seas of liquid ethane and methane. The methane has the ability to form rain and other organics are formed in the atmosphere and fall like light snow. 

It is also because Titan’s atmosphere is dense and its gravity is 1/7th of earth.

These factors will go in favor dragonfly’s ability to fly even with its little weight. Dragonfly will be leaving earth for a 2-year mission, going to spend most of its time on the surface of titans making science measurements.

Sources:

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasas-dragonfly-will-fly-around-titan-looking-for-origins-signs-of-life

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