NASA’s Dragonfly is a planned spacecraft and mission that will send a mobile robotic drone lander to Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. It will be used to study prebiotic chemistry and extraterrestrial habitability at various locations where it will perform vertical-takeoffs and landings (VTOL). This moon is unique in having an abundant, complex, and diverse carbon-rich chemistry on the surface of a water-ice-dominated world with an interior water ocean. Read more for a video and additional information.
Areas of particular interest on Titan are sites where extraterrestrial liquid water in impact melt or potential cryo-volcanic flows may have interacted with the abundant organic compounds. NASA’s drone will provide the capability to explore diverse locations to characterize the habitability of Titan’s environment, investigate how far prebiotic chemistry has progressed, and search for biosignatures indicative of life based on water as solvent.
“Almost everyone who gets exposed to Dragonfly has a similar thought process. The first time you see it, you think: ‘You gotta be kidding, that’s crazy,’…eventually, you come to realize that this is a highly executable mission,” said Doug Adams, the mission’s spacecraft system’s engineer.