NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

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Ethan13
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NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by Ethan13 » Thu, 25. Mar 21, 10:25

NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Saturn's satellite Titan, which will be pre-assembled by the Dragonfly octocopter. The spacecraft will consist of two modules, and it is proposed to use liquid methane produced on Titan as fuel for the trip to Earth, according to the website Universetoday.com.

Currently, the project has received 125 thousand dollars, and the development team must complete the first of three stages of work in 9 months, after which it will need to receive approval from NASA to proceed to the second stage.

BrasatoAlBarolo
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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by BrasatoAlBarolo » Thu, 25. Mar 21, 11:12

Is it me or 125.000 $ look like nothing?

Interesting project though.

Ethan13
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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by Ethan13 » Thu, 25. Mar 21, 23:53

BrasatoAlBarolo wrote:
Thu, 25. Mar 21, 11:12
Is it me or 125.000 $ look like nothing?

Interesting project though.
Compared to other NASA missions, this is really nothing. But this is only the beginning of the project. It is unclear when it will actually be implemented.
This can take 10-15 years.

Jacob68
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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by Jacob68 » Fri, 2. Apr 21, 17:59

I'm glad that NASA concentrates on something else besides Mars and Moon. Titan is a rather interesting object for exploration. Perhaps you know that scientists proved in contains water and dense atmosphere, thus can be colonized. I don't think $125,000 will be enough to fund this project, but it will certainly be cheaper than other planned missions. Don't you know, will NASA work on it alone or cooperate with another space agency?

BaronVerde
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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by BaronVerde » Fri, 2. Apr 21, 22:19

The presence of an ocean on Titan has not yet been proved. It is inferred from gravity measurements of Cassini/Huygens and the outcome of modelling. It may be just a salty brine, with an overlay of ammonia/ammonium sulfate and an 80km thick layer of ice (water/methane), but that's unclear. But we can hardly drill through 4km of ice on earth (Antarctica drill projects), doing so on other bodies through 80km, even with a hot probe, is, well, improbable, for now, Works well in renderings :-) And there's allways the danger of contamination through drilling, no matter how well sterilized everything is that gets there from earth.

Surface temp of titan is -180°C, Atmosphere is nitrogen, maybe with rare methane precipitation, life can't exist there. I am not sure about radiation (van Allen belt) and the amount the atmosphere might block.

In the 80s it was discovered that extreme lifeforms can exist at hydrothermal vents on earth, that made speculations run free for other solar system bodies. So, as soon as some sort of gravitation anomaly is detected or an icy vent imaged, there is automatically the deduction of a nice warm water ocean, life(tm), a palm beach and Mojito being served (am being slightly sarcstic). In short, speculation runs free.

But to really prove a water/ammonia/sulfate ocean under the thick icy shell, a bit more data is needed. As I understand, the 125k are for initial brainstorming, the total cost will rather be a billion, and Dragonfly, if it flies, is planned to arrive in the mid 30s (this century). But if it works we may get some more data on this.

And, may I say, 'colonizing' other solar system bodies, I mean in a form that ordinary people could live there, is far beyond our abilities, for now.

Is there a rocket at all that makes 19km/s dV (from low earth orbit, add 8km/s to get there) necessary to reach Saturn, with a heavy probe on it ? I think not ... so they need gravity assists anyway, meaning a long journey.

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Teladi CEO
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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by Teladi CEO » Sat, 3. Apr 21, 00:27

BaronVerde wrote:
Fri, 2. Apr 21, 22:19
The presence of an ocean on Titan has not yet been proved. It is inferred from gravity measurements of Cassini/Huygens and the outcome of modelling. It may be just a salty brine, with an overlay of ammonia/ammonium sulfate and an 80km thick layer of ice (water/methane), but that's unclear. But we can hardly drill through 4km of ice on earth (Antarctica drill projects), doing so on other bodies through 80km, even with a hot probe, is, well, improbable, for now, Works well in renderings :-) And there's allways the danger of contamination through drilling, no matter how well sterilized everything is that gets there from earth.

Surface temp of titan is -180°C, Atmosphere is nitrogen, maybe with rare methane precipitation, life can't exist there. I am not sure about radiation (van Allen belt) and the amount the atmosphere might block.

In the 80s it was discovered that extreme lifeforms can exist at hydrothermal vents on earth, that made speculations run free for other solar system bodies. So, as soon as some sort of gravitation anomaly is detected or an icy vent imaged, there is automatically the deduction of a nice warm water ocean, life(tm), a palm beach and Mojito being served (am being slightly sarcstic). In short, speculation runs free.

But to really prove a water/ammonia/sulfate ocean under the thick icy shell, a bit more data is needed. As I understand, the 125k are for initial brainstorming, the total cost will rather be a billion, and Dragonfly, if it flies, is planned to arrive in the mid 30s (this century). But if it works we may get some more data on this.

And, may I say, 'colonizing' other solar system bodies, I mean in a form that ordinary people could live there, is far beyond our abilities, for now.

Is there a rocket at all that makes 19km/s dV (from low earth orbit, add 8km/s to get there) necessary to reach Saturn, with a heavy probe on it ? I think not ... so they need gravity assists anyway, meaning a long journey.
My Titan facts aren’t the most fleshed out, but did you confuse Titan with Europa/Enceladus?

I’m pretty sure Titan has multiple liquid methane lakes on the surface, then a theorized ocean beneath that. The surface of Titan is flat and composed of rock and frozen methane, but it certainly isn’t an ice ball.
We don’t know what paradise is like, but probably it’s blue magenta, flecked with pink. But even if it’s green and red-checked we should make the most of it. -Boron saying

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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by BaronVerde » Sat, 3. Apr 21, 02:35

Teladi CEO wrote:
Sat, 3. Apr 21, 00:27
My Titan facts aren’t the most fleshed out, but did you confuse Titan with Europa/Enceladus?

I’m pretty sure Titan has multiple liquid methane lakes on the surface, then a theorized ocean beneath that. The surface of Titan is flat and composed of rock and frozen methane, but it certainly isn’t an ice ball.
I don't think so. One can find several versions of the modelled interior and layering. Yes, there are lakes and rivers of hydrocarbons, and an icy shell. The 'mountains' pictured by Huygens are thought to be icy material, with sand and pebbels.

https://www.nasa.gov/content/ten-years- ... e-of-titan
https://www.nature.com/news/tides-turn-on-titan-1.10917

Overall density of ~1.8 and relatively 'young' surface doesn't fit a rocky body either, together with tidal bulging it lead to the hypothesis of a subsurface ocean ... if I am not mistaken.

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Teladi CEO
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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by Teladi CEO » Sat, 3. Apr 21, 04:39

BaronVerde wrote:
Sat, 3. Apr 21, 02:35
Teladi CEO wrote:
Sat, 3. Apr 21, 00:27
My Titan facts aren’t the most fleshed out, but did you confuse Titan with Europa/Enceladus?

I’m pretty sure Titan has multiple liquid methane lakes on the surface, then a theorized ocean beneath that. The surface of Titan is flat and composed of rock and frozen methane, but it certainly isn’t an ice ball.
I don't think so. One can find several versions of the modelled interior and layering. Yes, there are lakes and rivers of hydrocarbons, and an icy shell. The 'mountains' pictured by Huygens are thought to be icy material, with sand and pebbels.

https://www.nasa.gov/content/ten-years- ... e-of-titan
https://www.nature.com/news/tides-turn-on-titan-1.10917

Overall density of ~1.8 and relatively 'young' surface doesn't fit a rocky body either, together with tidal bulging it lead to the hypothesis of a subsurface ocean ... if I am not mistaken.
I stand corrected, thanks.
We don’t know what paradise is like, but probably it’s blue magenta, flecked with pink. But even if it’s green and red-checked we should make the most of it. -Boron saying

Jacob68
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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by Jacob68 » Wed, 7. Apr 21, 15:02

Ethan13 wrote:
Thu, 25. Mar 21, 10:25
NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Saturn's satellite Titan, which will be pre-assembled by the Dragonfly octocopter. The spacecraft will consist of two modules, and it is proposed to use liquid methane produced on Titan as fuel for the trip to Earth, according to the website Universetoday.com.

Currently, the project has received 125 thousand dollars, and the development team must complete the first of three stages of work in 9 months, after which it will need to receive approval from NASA to proceed to the second stage.
They'll use liquid methane, well. I heard this is a fuel of the future and is used in SpaceX's Raptor engines. I wonder why space agencies don't want to care about our ecology. I mean, why they don't create a more eco-friendly fuel, like ecosense rocket fuel. It's probably the most famous environmentally friendly fuel among the existing ones. I decided to support my reply with a link to let everyone learn more about it and make sure that eco-fuel doesn't mean ineffective. Moreover, its energy characteristics can be even better than the characteristics of other kinds of fuel.

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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by BaronVerde » Wed, 7. Apr 21, 16:08

Methane is not environmentally friendly. Its relative effect on radiative forcing (warming of the atmosphere) is much higher than that of our main driver CO2, but its concentration is lower and it stays shorter in the atmopshere than CO2. It is 'number two' for climate change. Mass release of methane from reservoirs, e.g. in permafrost soils or from the seabed, will have really bad consequences.

Rocket launches don't play such huge roles as energy production, traffic, infrastructure, construction work, agriculture, so they are not on screen.

https://essd.copernicus.org/articles/12/1561/2020/

Pop-Science, slightly outdated, methane's contribution is double than what was expected a few years ago:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... s-methane/


The reason why SpaceX uses Methane is they fantasize they could produce it off-world, in a modernized Sabatier reaction. Recycling fuels don't fit in that picture, and their comparatively positive or less negative effect in relation to kerosene or whatever must still be proven. Often times, companies just grab public aid money, make a website and disappear. Also, I am not sure if the concept of a 3D printed rocket is really viable, flyable, or so ... :-)

And btw., space agencies (NASA, ESA, JAXA, ...) do many kinds of observation and research in the field of earth's dynamics, and constantly produce papers and publications.

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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by mr.WHO » Thu, 8. Apr 21, 07:57

Am I the only one who think that all space agencies should switch from astronomy/observatory to space industry projects?

I mean COME ONE - if we suppose to save the planet from climate changes then this is perfect way:

- need better food production to feed more from less? Space stations need hydrophonics.
- need better recycling to reduce waste? Space ships and stations need near perfect recycling.
- need less industrial production on Earth? Space and Moon don't have snails and whales, so you can build factories to your hearth content.
- need more energy? Space has everything - Solar power, uranium, hydrogen, hydrocarbons.
- Earth get into positive greenhouse spiral? Build a freaking solar shade to stabilize the temberature.
- Earth is overpopulated? Build O'Neil Cylinders (these would need really serious space industry 50-100 years in the future).
- in really long term, Terraforming of both Mars and Venus is possible with present day tech (but absurdly expensive, like 1000+ global GDP), so it would be economically viable 200-300 years in future.

Bam, solved the climate problem and have 3 habitable planets instead of 1 dying one.

To be honest I don't belive in man made climate change, but I'd rather use it for new Space Race and Space industrialization than see bunch of useless whiny kinds from extinction rebellion or green new deal (which could have been a neat idea, if not absurdly terrible execution).

Teladi CEO
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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by Teladi CEO » Thu, 8. Apr 21, 12:42

mr.WHO wrote:
Thu, 8. Apr 21, 07:57
Am I the only one who think that all space agencies should switch from astronomy/observatory to space industry projects?

I mean COME ONE - if we suppose to save the planet from climate changes then this is perfect way:

- need better food production to feed more from less? Space stations need hydrophonics.
- need better recycling to reduce waste? Space ships and stations need near perfect recycling.
- need less industrial production on Earth? Space and Moon don't have snails and whales, so you can build factories to your hearth content.
- need more energy? Space has everything - Solar power, uranium, hydrogen, hydrocarbons.
- Earth get into positive greenhouse spiral? Build a freaking solar shade to stabilize the temberature.
- Earth is overpopulated? Build O'Neil Cylinders (these would need really serious space industry 50-100 years in the future).
- in really long term, Terraforming of both Mars and Venus is possible with present day tech (but absurdly expensive, like 1000+ global GDP), so it would be economically viable 200-300 years in future.

Bam, solved the climate problem and have 3 habitable planets instead of 1 dying one.

To be honest I don't belive in man made climate change, but I'd rather use it for new Space Race and Space industrialization than see bunch of useless whiny kinds from extinction rebellion or green new deal (which could have been a neat idea, if not absurdly terrible execution).
Oi! I’ll have that climate change discussion with you later... but I agree, we need to industrialize space. Though I think we have to be careful to not have this lead to out own destruction. I believe this is called the Kepler Syndrome, that we will literally barricade ourselves into our own planet because of space debris.

But also, testing in space leads to amazing new breakthroughs. Such as the ISS having an excellent water reclamation system, using this on a larger scale on Earth or the moon, and creating arcologies will be excellent for the fresh water supply on Earth and we could perhaps even begin to increase it.

Another thing is space to grow food, while we would have to deal with the harmful effects of radiation, if we grow it within our own magnetosphere we could reasonably grow vast quantities of food to feed humanity within scaring our surface and contribute less to deforestation.

Besides for being able to find almost all metals and elements in space in far larger and easier to access quantities in space. We also can build colonies along the way that ensure humanities continued survival.

It also raises logistical and other concerns as well. While we could certainly build space stations and lunar colony, will they be safe for people to inhabit? Or will we be dooming multiple generations to genetic disorders and cancer, to be born in a unfortunate position so that then Earth could receive its precious resources. Sounds a bit dystopian.
We don’t know what paradise is like, but probably it’s blue magenta, flecked with pink. But even if it’s green and red-checked we should make the most of it. -Boron saying

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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by mr.WHO » Thu, 8. Apr 21, 13:39

Teladi CEO wrote:
Thu, 8. Apr 21, 12:42
Another thing is space to grow food, while we would have to deal with the harmful effects of radiation, if we grow it within our own magnetosphere we could reasonably grow vast quantities of food to feed humanity within scaring our surface and contribute less to deforestation.

Besides for being able to find almost all metals and elements in space in far larger and easier to access quantities in space. We also can build colonies along the way that ensure humanities continued survival.

It also raises logistical and other concerns as well. While we could certainly build space stations and lunar colony, will they be safe for people to inhabit? Or will we be dooming multiple generations to genetic disorders and cancer, to be born in a unfortunate position so that then Earth could receive its precious resources. Sounds a bit dystopian.
Aparently it's considered to privatize ISS instead of dumping it into the ocean, so this could be a good start.

As for radiation, it's not a problem on ISS - basically the only problem on ISS is lack of gravity - they even wanted to have rotating habitat module on it, but it was scrapped due to budget limitations.


More advanced stations would be much better protected from radiation even in deep space - that's why I mentioned O'Neil cylinders (but not the "fancy" ones with stupid huge windows on 1/3 of their surface - windows are evil and structural weakness) - something simple as dirt, ice or water in the walls provide good protection - starship want to use water in walls for radiation protection to Mars trip.

With space industry on site it would be much easier to clean orbit from all dangerous junk to avoid Kessler syndrome (which aparently is too overdramatized - it wouldn't cut us from space, but it would raise the cost of launch due to additional protections and precautions needed to avoid all the junk).



Going back to main topic, with all the industry developed having all the astronomy/science project that NASA is doing right now would be much easier and for fracture of the cost.

Sending drone to Titan would be like sending amazon package from one side of the Earth to another.

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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by BaronVerde » Thu, 8. Apr 21, 15:17

Back to Titan and the Dragonfly mission, apparently Nasa so far has little more than imagination on how to return a sample of Titan's surface from Titan's surface. It seems that it is an envisioned add-on to the Dragenfly mission.

I couldn't find hard info except for this:
https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/space ... opellants/

So, the information there is that it is difficult and there's no realisable plan for the return yet, only that it needs to do the fuel dance out there and somehow return and they have 125k to ponder how.

But this is not trivial, real life is not X4 ;-)

A planned launch of Dragonfly could be 2027. I don't know when the next launch window will open as they need the help of gravity assists to get there, to my knowledge no current rocket is able to provide the necessary delta-V to get there directly, that is on a Hohmann transfer (look it up or do the math, I may be wrong here, maybe Falcon Heavy can do it with a probe of let's say 3tons (Cassini was 2.6) but I don't know if Falcon Heavy is considered reliable enough for such a mission).

Anyway, if the mission dates work out and usually space projects have some dilatation to them (pun), they'll arrive 2034 on the planned trajectory, do things and the add-on would wait for a return window, and may probably be back around mid of the century. If humans make it until then someone can pick it up. One can't just launch to another planet at any time, planetary alignments must fit, depending on the planned trajectory, though the return from Saturn shoudln't need too much because on return to earth they can use the atmopshere to get rid of all the excess speed without bothering delicate probe (hail the probe !) equipment.

Maybe anybody has more concrete infos than what I found ?

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Re: NASA has approved a project to deliver soil samples from Titan

Post by Vertigo 7 » Thu, 8. Apr 21, 21:06

If they design a rocket where the fuel storage module is replaceable with as little effort as possible and have some purpose built robots carry out the replacement, they could send 2 rockets, with one carrying the fuel needed for the first to escape Titan's atmosphere and make the return trip to earth, and the other with all the mission gear and robot minions ready to go get the replacement fuel and attach it.

They wouldn't even need to necessarily send both rockets at the same time. They could send the return trip fuel ahead of the soil gathering mission and equip it with all the telemetry reporting sensors needed to verify it actually made it intact and isn't leaking before sending the diggers. The fuel delivery rocket wouldn't even need to land on Titan's surface. Don't see why that couldn't be jettisoned and parachuted down to the surface while the delivery rocket sling shots around Saturn if they want to recover it.
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