NASA announces its New Frontiers program

Published: July 5, 2019

NASA has recently announced its New Frontiers program, called Dragonfly mission, to explore Saturn’s largest moon – Titan. It’s the only moon in our solar system that has an atmosphere.The rotorcraft will fly to dozens of promising locations on Titan looking for pre-biotic chemical processes common on both Titan and Earth. The mission will launch in 2026 and will reach Titan by 2034. Titan is the 2nd-largest natural satellite in our Solar System, and is larger than the Moon and the planet Mercury. As it orbits Saturn, Titan is about 886 million miles (1.4 billion km) away from the Sun, about 10 times farther than Earth. Because it is so far from the Sun, its surface temperature is minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 179 degrees Celsius). Its surface pressure is also 50% higher than Earth’s. Titan has a dense, nitrogen-based atmosphere like Earth. Unlike Earth, it has clouds and rain of methane. Other organics are formed in the atmosphere and fall like light snow.

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