NASA selects drone mission to Saturn's largest moon Titan

Dragonfly will fly over Titan looking for signs of life

By By JEREMY REHM Associated Press

A giant of a moon appears before a giant of a planet undergoing seasonal changes in this natural color view of Titan and Saturn from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

NASA says it's sending a drone to explore Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

The space agency said Thursday Dragonfly will fly from location to location over Titan, exploring future potential landing sites.

The mission, part of NASA's competitive New Frontiers Program, beat out another possible project to collect samples from a nearby comet. It's the first time NASA will fly a multi-rotor vehicle for science on another planet.

Dragonfly will launch in 2026 and arrive in 2034.

This illustration shows NASA’s Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander approaching a site on Saturn’s exotic moon, Titan. (Image credit: NASA/JHU-APL)

Titan is a haze-covered world that has lakes of methane and an ocean below the surface. Scientists have long considered Titan an attractive place to study whether it would be capable of supporting microbial life.

Titan was last explored by the Cassini-Huygens mission. In 2017, the Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn, ending two decades of exploration.

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