30 Jan '12, 2pm

Cute Little Drone Could Soar Through the Skies of Saturn’s Moon Titan

Cute Little Drone Could Soar Through the Skies of Saturn’s Moon Titan

The surface of Titan, one of the moons of Saturn, is a bizarre place, as the Huygens probe found out back in 2005. There are hydrocarbon lakes kept full by methane rain, with volcanoes that spew mixtures of water and ammonia. It's definitely strange enough that we should take another look at the place, and a mission being proposed by a group of scientists would send an airplane there to cruise Titan's nitrogen skies. This mission (it's just a proposal at this point) is called AVIATR, and it's designed to be one of those (relatively) cheap New Frontiers missions that can be made to happen for under three-quarters of a billion dollars. AVIATR, thanks to NASA's penchant for strained acronyms, stands for "Aerial Vehicle for In-situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance." The overall idea is that instead of a lander or a rover, AVIATR would be a little 120-kilogram airplane driven ...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/aerospace/robotic-expl...

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Treasure little (yet big!) milestones!

Treasure little (yet big!) milestones!

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