Space Boat: A Nautical Mission to an Alien Sea


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The Titan Mare Explorer: A nautical mission to an alien sea.

If [NASA] green-lights the mission, the capsule will lift off in 2016. By 2023, TiME will be about 800 million miles away in Titan’s north-polar region, home to its biggest lakes and seas. The capsule will take photographs, collect meteorological data, measure depth, and analyze samples. TiME will have no means of propulsion once it is on Titan, so it will float, carried by breezes across the sea’s surface. Then, by the mid-2020s, it will enter a decade-long winter of darkness as the moon’s orbit takes it to the dark side of Saturn, away from the sun and communication. It won’t have a line of sight to Earth to beam back more data until 2035.

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  • Best guess on the temperature of Titan’s atmosphere is about 95K (about -290F in old money). I’d like to see a machine that can withstand those temperatures for a decade, and still be able to “. . . beam back more data”.

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