A submarine could soon explore Saturn’s largest moon Titan. According to reports, researchers have been crafting a concept mission that could send a submarine to Titan, which has lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbon on its frigid surface. If approved and funded by NASA, the mission could be ready to launch in the 2030s.
“We feel that the Titan submarine is kind of a first step before you go do a Europa or Enceladus” submission, Steven Oleson, of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio, said last month during a presentation with the agency’s Future In-Space Operations working group.
The proposed submarine would cruise through a different medium than the ones on earth, but that would not be a problem, Oleson said. Elaborating further, he added that the submarine could push through liquid hydrocarbons easily and through radio signals, communications would be enabled even when it is submerged in the water. “Those communications could reach the sub directly from Earth or be relayed via a Titan orbiter, depending on the mission architecture,” he added.
Moons on Jupiter ad Saturn harbour huge water bodies which are buried inside ice sheets. However, Titan’s water bodies are exposed, therefore making it easier to drop a submarine into titians’ surface seas. In a sepearte ventute, NASA is paying up to Rs 7.5 lakhs for a water harvesting challenge that requires participants to design hardware capable of identifying, mapping and drilling through various subsurface layers before extracting water from a block of ice in a simulated testbed.
In a statement on August 11, NASA informed that while there are “hundreds of millions of tons of ice” in moon’s South Pole region, it needs processing for various purposes, such as for the astronauts to “drink it, grow plants with it, or make rocket propellant from it”. Therefore, the 2021 Moon to Mars Ice and Prospecting Challenge required the eligible undergraduate and graduate student teams to design and build hardware to be able to achieve that purpose. Read the assessment guidelines here.
World news – US – Researchers could send a submarine to explore huge Saturn moon Titan’s seas – Republic World