A team from the Open University, led by Professor John Zarnecki, intends, in cooperation with NASA, to conduct a study of Saturn.
Space engineers are planning to create the world’s first extraterrestrial boat. They will send it to the Titan - the largest moon of Saturn and descend by parachute in his Sea Ligei consisting of methane and ethane.
The robotic ship will sail on this alien lake for a few months, exploring the coastline and measuring the speed of wind and waves on the surface. "Waves on Titan are much larger, but slower than in the Earth’s oceans, according to our calculations," - said Professor John Zarnecki of the Open University. "This means that Titan - the most suitable candidate for surfing in the solar system. Only problem - it is the temperature at-180C".
Titan, the only moon in the solar system with a dense atmosphere composed of nitrogen and methane, will be the first place in addition to the Earth, where there will be a study of the sea, in search of evidence of the possible existence of complex organic compounds, precursors of life.
"Methane - a gas on Earth, but because Titan’s very cold, it is there in the liquid state," - said Zarnecki, who is working with scientists from the United States to create a boat that will go to Titan.
The probe will afloat for several months, measuring the wave, chemical composition and other parameters.
"The main instrument will probe mass spectrometer, which will determine the exact composition of the lake. But we’re also going to make a deep sounding," - said Allan Stofan of Proxemy Research. The boat will be equipped with a small nuclear generator, because Titan’s distance from the Sun, is a barrier to obtaining energy via solar panels.