Saturn’s moon Titan is one of the most interesting sites in our solar system, and NASA wants to build a high-tech submarine to explore its icy depths.
Inverse reports that NASA is developing a robotic submarine to explore the Kraken Mare, the largest ocean on Titan. Titan is kind of like Earth, with clouds and an atmosphere, except for the extreme cold and oceans of liquid methane (as opposed to, you know, water). Jason Hartwig, a NASA cryogenics engineer, said the moon is such an enticing target because it’d give NASA a chance to see if there is really hydrocarbon-based life there, and to get a better look at its mysterious methane sea.
The current plan is for the sub to carry instruments designed to measure everything from the currents and tides on Titan to the chemical composition of the ocean. It’ll also have a “mast” at the top for communication, but must be fully autonomous (since we can’t exactly run it via remote control from Earth). But before they ship it out to the wild, methane depths, NASA still has to figure out a way to make sure the sub won’t freeze in those sub-zero conditions as it explores.
So yeah, it’s probably a good thing we’d have to wait until 2038 anyway for the optimal launch window in regard to planet alignment and Titan’s seasons.
Get to work, fellas.