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NASA Space Science

Sailing the Titan Seas 56

gpronger writes "The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has been awarded the opportunity to explore the methane ocean on Titan. Next year APL will be submitting a project plan to NASA, which will be one of three submittals. If chosen, launch would be in 2016, with arrival at Titan in 2023. The 'Titan Mare Explorer' or TiME would be the first exploration of an extraterrestrial ocean with the craft landing and floating on the ocean. The mission would be led by principal investigator Ellen Stofan of Proxemy Research Inc. in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Lockheed Martin in Denver would build the TiME capsule, with scientific instruments provided by APL, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego. This is part of NASA's Discovery Program and would be the next mission, funded and supported by NASA."
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Sailing the Titan Seas

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  • Awesomeness (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:10PM (#36099860) Journal

    On the sheer awesomeness factor, this rates pretty damned high. The only thing cooler would be a submarine in Europea's ocean, but that one, I imagine, is decades off.

  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @06:19PM (#36099960) Journal

    Are they going to build a pool of liquid methane in which to test this?

    I mean, a giant, sealed, cryogenic methane containment tank with N layers of protection so that it doesn't, you know, mix with air and explode?

  • by RussR42 ( 779993 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @10:52PM (#36102354)
    I mean this in all seriousness, not as a troll or flamebait. After a reasonable look for indigenous life on the other planets, why not seed them with earth life? It seems unlikely that adapting to them would make the life we left there harmful to us and with just a little genetic engineering perhaps we can seed them in such a way to start rudimentary terraforming. Or even better, perhaps the bit of life we plant there will survive until the sun expands and the other planets/moons pass through the habitable zone and with the leg up we gave them by putting them there evolve into sentience with the time they would have. Sorry, distracted by wild imagination there. The question is, why not add life to lifeless worlds if we can? What harm could it do?

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato