NASA to send drone-like lander to explore Saturn’s moon, Titan

Artist’s concept of Dragonfly soaring over the dunes of Saturn’s moon Titan.

NASA has confirmed that it is sending a rotorcraft lander to Saturn’s moon, Titan, to explore dozens of different locations. 

The lander, named Dragonfly, is set to launch in July 2028. 

"Dragonfly is a spectacular science mission with broad community interest, and we are excited to take the next steps on this mission," said Nicky Fox, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Exploring Titan will push the boundaries of what we can do with rotorcraft outside of Earth."

Dragonfly mission


FILE - The colorful globe of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, passes in front of the planet and its rings in this true color snapshot from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (Caltech/Space Science Institute)

The dual-quadcopter is set to land on Titan in 2034 and is expected to fly to dozens of "promising locations" on the moon, NASA said. 

This will be the very first time NASA will fly a vehicle for a science mission on another planetary body. 

Dragonfly will search for prebiotic chemical processes that are common on both Titan and during Earth’s early years before life developed.

The rotorcraft will have eight rotors and will fly like a drone, NASA said. 

The spacecraft is being designed and built under the direction of Johns  Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.