Skip to comments.NASA's Choice: Visit Ancient Comet -- Or Saturn Moon?
Posted on 12/26/2017 12:46:44 PM PST by Simon Green
And now its down to two: Dragonfly and CAESAR.
Those are the finalists vying for a billion dollar space shotand a place in NASAs coveted New Frontiers program.
The agency announced the decision Wednesday at its Washington, D.C. headquarters.
To win the chance to send a robotic probe into space, Dragonfly and CAESAR beat out proposals from ten other science teams.
This is a very tough competition, says Jim Green, NASA's Planetary Science Division director. "And these are very exciting missions."
Dragonflya visual mashup of a drone and helicopterwould land on Titan, a mysterious moon of Saturn that might harbor life.
Titan is a unique ocean world, says Elizabeth Turtle, Dragonflys lead investigator, with lakes and rivers of liquid methane flowing across its surface.
That, along with its thick atmosphere and rich organic chemistry, suggests Titan has the ingredients for life, she says.
Although no one is certain, primitive microbesor something moremight flourish within the moon's dark methane seas.
After touchdown, the Dragonfly vehicle (a rotorcraft") will fly around Titan, land in locations hundreds of miles apart, and sample the surface.
Detailed measurements of those samples, says Turtle, could answer fundamental unknowns about Titan.
CAESAR, looking a bit like a ceiling fan with only two blades, would land on Churyumov-Gerasimenko, an ancient comet with a real jawbreaker of a name, says Steve Squyres, the projects lead investigator.
Comets, many scientists say, delivered water and organic molecules to a primordial Earth, perhaps igniting life here.
Yet the icy bodies remain an enigma to astronomers, ranking among the most poorly understood of celestial objects, Squyres says.
After landing, CAESAR will scoop up a sample from the comets nucleus, then bring it back to Earth.
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
Comets.....lunch trucks of the universe.
Why can’t they do both?...................
As neat as both of these are, I’d really prefer that they focus on Europa.
Of course, landing on Europa does run the risk of incurring the wrath of certain large, black monoliths...
Only one rocket available for this mission, so only one project gets the nod.
I thought all Comets were ancient
There is an independent SciFi film on a manned mission to Europa called “Europa Report”. It’s quite good!
Agreed. From your fingers to DJT's eyes.
A comet mission should be an international cooperation, pool their resources and get ‘er done!.............
Yea that was a pretty good flick.
Might still be on Netflix streaming service..
Titan please! Those methane oceans, lakes, rivers etc. are fascinating.
Steve Squyres, the projects lead investigator.
What ever is found, the public will learn little - the usual Steve Squyres M.O.
Instead of Europa, compromise on Enceladus - the non-round moon with the extreme retrograde orbit and the 12-mile high wall running completely around the equator ...
Saw it. Wasnt bad.
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