The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is known for sending some of the most advanced spacecrafts to explore the outer limits of our mysterious solar system. Recently, however, scientists at NASA have revealed the details of a new submarine – intended to not only explore the far depths of Earth’s oceans, but also the seas of Saturn’s moon, Titan.
The complex design was announced in the Titan Submarine Phase I Conceptual Design presentation at this week’s NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) symposium, held at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Florida.
According to The Register, the physical submarine will be revealed in March, at the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. In the meantime, the details of the project can be seen here.
Although NASA has explored Titan in the pass, this time, the agency will attempt to release a submersible craft into the moon’s methane lake.
Scientists specifically hope to be able to explore Kraken Mare, the largest lake in Titan’s north, that was originally spotted by the Cassini probe, back in 2007.
Titan is unique because it is the only one within our solar system that contains an atmosphere, although not quite the same as Earth’s. Rather, it is comprised of a continuous methane cycle, eventually giving rise to Titan’s various bodies of water – from lakes to seas that can range from less than a foot deep to well over 660 feet.
Once the Titan Sub is sent on its mission – expected to last a total of 90-days – it will explore about 1,250 miles of the Kraken Mare, with the goal of determining the possibility of marine life. This may prove to be a difficult journey for the submarine as the lake possess strong tides and intimidating waves, not to mention temperatures that can reach as low as -298 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Science Recorder.
Thus, in order to carry out the procedure, the submarine will utilize a radioisotope generator to power itself over a long period of time. However, because data transmission is impossible while underwater, the Titan Sub will relay information to Earth by resurfacing from the sea on a schedule basis.