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"Dragonfly" Titan explorer drone, NASA funds Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL)
Steve5304
post Dec 6 2019, 02:17 AM
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QUOTE (rlorenz @ Dec 5 2019, 05:07 AM) *
In this context (and in the 'Titan: Dead or Alive?' debate I had with Jeff Moore some years back) I've liked to show the attached as something of an analog : the salt glaciers in Iran. Salt layers emplaced when the Sea of Tethys (!) dried up are buoyant compared with their superposed sediments, and halite is a soft enough rock to flow somewhat (especially when mobilized by moisture). In a few places, the salt diapirs pierce the surface, and flow at ~1m year, spreading out in a blob (I guess ultimately material is lost at the edges by dissolution in occasional rainfall - certainly the surface is dissected).

[attachment=45385:saltdome...0_733_27.png]

So, it's functionally solid material, it has exuded from underground: perhaps if we saw it on Titan we'd call it a cryovolcanic flow. But it isnt what we'd call on Earth a volcano. On the other hand, it wasnt emplaced meteorologically, like an ice glacier. It's something in between, and Titan may have a lot of 'in between'. Arthur C. Clarke's 'Imperial Earth' has a nice word - 'waxworms'....




I really enjoyed your post. Very informational. Thanks for this
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ngunn
post Dec 6 2019, 04:40 PM
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I too am glad to see this topic revisited here. I remember we had a discussion along similar lines a number of years ago that many current members and visitors may have missed. There is so much potential on Titan for active processes that don't fit within familiar terrestrial categories and timescales. That's one reason why it will be a fascinating place to explore further. It would be a tremendous aid to understanding if we had a way of establishing even the relative chronology of surface features large and small. Absolute dating of any kind would be even better, of course. Meanwhile those Iranian salt extrusions are great to think about. They don't need internal heat to drive them for a start.
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kymani76
post Dec 10 2019, 08:48 PM
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Slightly off topic, but still relevant...here is my take at 3d view of Dragonfly's landing area using SAR data, combined with DTM from dr. Lorenz....the view is towards northwest...Selk crater is on the right...in front of it to the south sand dunes can be seen...as I understand, Dragonfly will touch down somewhere among those dunes in 2034.

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Jake
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Daniele_bianchin...
post Jul 8 2020, 11:12 AM
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I hope this mission will show us magnificent things. We are all a little bitter for not seeing the seas of ethane-methane. Maybe it's everyone's dream. I hope there are many hidden things unknown to us between Shangri-La and the selK crater. I would not like to see a colder copy of Mars (dunes, dunes and more dunes) after many years of waiting :-) I also trust in the extension of the mission for objectives not yet thought out (I hope wet objectives). We inhabitants of planet Earth cannot miss this opportunity!
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centsworth_II
post Jul 8 2020, 03:06 PM
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Huygens was designed to land in liquid, but did not. I don't think Dragonfly's landing in even a deep puddle would end well. sad.gif
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Decepticon
post Jul 9 2020, 02:25 PM
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QUOTE (centsworth_II @ Jul 8 2020, 10:06 AM) *
Huygens was designed to land in liquid, but did not. I don't think Dragonfly's landing in even a deep puddle would end well. sad.gif



I thought dragonfly starts its flight right away. After decent and deployment.
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mcaplinger
post Jul 9 2020, 03:44 PM
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QUOTE (Decepticon @ Jul 9 2020, 06:25 AM) *
I thought dragonfly starts its flight right away. After decent and deployment.

And then it descends under power and lands after a fairly limited flight.

I think we should define a rule banning complaining about not going to lakes.


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Decepticon
post Jul 9 2020, 06:11 PM
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QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Jul 9 2020, 10:44 AM) *
And then it descends under power and lands after a fairly limited flight.

I think we should define a rule banning complaining about not going to lakes.



Huh? I didn't complain! blink.gif
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mcaplinger
post Jul 9 2020, 06:40 PM
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QUOTE (Decepticon @ Jul 9 2020, 10:11 AM) *
Huh? I didn't complain! blink.gif

Read the past few messages. I wasn't sure what point you were trying to make in that context. Certainly there has been some complaining in this thread.


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nprev
post Jul 10 2020, 10:40 AM
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Alright, no more complaining about lakes, which includes complaining about people complaining. This is making me complain & so we're now perilously close to an infinite meta-loop or something...


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JRehling
post Jul 11 2020, 10:17 PM
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I'm sorry that Titan is so marvelously diverse that we can't see all of its variety in one mission. Maybe we should explore Rhea instead, to avoid this conundrum! Rhea Orbiter and Multiple Landers or bust.
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volcanopele
post Jul 12 2020, 12:23 AM
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Exactly, and I'm sure that in the next round of Discovery proposals, particularly if two are selected this time around for the 2026 and 2028 windows, there will be at least one TiME-like mission to Titan's northern lakes. Maybe? Assuming Discovery maintains its every two year cadence, that puts the next launch window around 2030? Northern equinox is in 2039 I think... Given Titan's diverse geology, I'm sure that Dragonfly won't be the only lander in the near to medium future to Titan.

And I 100% endorse a mission to Rhea. But it really is sample return or bust from that tremendously exciting world.


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vjkane
post Jul 12 2020, 01:19 AM
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QUOTE (JRehling @ Jul 11 2020, 03:17 PM) *
I'm sorry that Titan is so marvelously diverse that we can't see all of its variety in one mission. Maybe we should explore Rhea instead, to avoid this conundrum! Rhea Orbiter and Multiple Landers or bust.

Your point on Titan is exactly that of this draft Decadal white paper: Titan: Earth-like on the Outside, Ocean World on the Inside


A mission such as this one, Enceladus orbiter/lander, would need to use many gravity assists from the moons inside Titan's orbit, including Rhea, to match orbits with Enceladus. So not quite a Rhea orbiter/multiple landers/sample return mission, but a multi-Rhea-Dione-Tethys flyby bonus mission.


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