r/space Sep 29 '22 Burning Cash 1

It's Official: NASA's Sending a Mission to Titan, a Top Candidate For Alien Life

https://noshma.com/astronomy/its-official-nasas-sending-a-mission-to-titan-a-top-candidate-for-alien-life/?fbclid=IwAR2ZWF_BECgLLQ6Qe5f25c4ImhjacsBurEAHMypoY1l7Ll9FaDG3Akz5g8s

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34.7k Upvotes

3.9k

u/reddit455 Sep 29 '22 Gold

it was official a few years ago.

Jun 27, 2019
RELEASE 19-052
NASA's Dragonfly Will Fly Around Titan Looking for Origins, Signs of Life

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasas-dragonfly-will-fly-around-titan-looking-for-origins-signs-of-life

Dragonfly will launch in 2026 and arrive in 2034. The rotorcraft will fly to dozens of promising locations on Titan looking for prebiotic chemical processes common on both Titan and Earth. Dragonfly marks the first time NASA will fly a multi-rotor vehicle for science on another planet; it has eight rotors and flies like a large drone. It will take advantage of Titan’s dense atmosphere – four times denser than Earth’s – to become the first vehicle ever to fly its entire science payload to new places for repeatable and targeted access to surface materials.

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u/Chrisazy Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 29 '22

Jesus Christ the travel time. Today's 5 year olds will be 17 when it gets there.

Edit: I'm sorry for what I've done with my numbers. 100 year olds would be 104 when it launches and 112 when it gets there, hope this helps

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u/Frencil Sep 29 '22

Outer planets do be like that. Here's my personal timeline for Cassini, the last big mission to the Saturn system:

  • 1997 watch Cassini launch at age 15 (dad was a VIMS scientist)
  • 2004 watch Cassini enter Saturn orbit at age 22, now working as an image processor for the Cassini imaging team
  • 2017 watch Cassini burn up in Saturn's atmosphere at age 35, now with a child of my own, and from the event at JPL as an alumn of one of the science teams (I had moved onto other things some years before).

I still remember being there with other team members when the early Titan flyby images were coming in and we were getting some of the first looks under the haze in human history... half a lifetime ago for me at least. So excited to see Dragonfly launch and, eventually, see what it discovers on that strange, distant world.

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u/CMDRStodgy Sep 29 '22 Take My Energy

'Blessed are those who plant trees under whose shade they will never sit.'

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u/spnnr Sep 29 '22 Gold Helpful

I upvoted you for the sentiment, but I prefer:

A society grows great when elders plant trees whose shade they shall never sit.

It isn't about being blessed. It's about caring for life, young and old.

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u/Pedro95 Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 29 '22

It doesn't mean "blessed" like they're lucky or fortunate to plant these trees, it's blessed like "good on ya" kinda way.

Yours certainly casts a wider net of showing that society benefits, while the original praises the planters more.

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u/Atherum Sep 29 '22

That's kind of the original meaning honestly. Not "look at what I have" but more "This thing you are doing is good and right".

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u/GF1386 Sep 29 '22

And we are currently sitting under many trees planted by our ancestors. I’m typing this message into one of them.

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u/ifandbut Sep 29 '22

Your computer is made out of wood? Must be hard to run Crisis without burning...at least you could eat smores while playing.

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u/Call_The_Banners Sep 29 '22

I love that we still use that game as a benchmark. I hope the joke sticks around for years to come.

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u/inshane_in_the_brain Sep 29 '22

Also I'll never get tired of seeing DOOM running on things it has no business being

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u/CMDRStodgy Sep 29 '22

That's actually the one I was looking for but I couldn't quite remember it so put some words into google and it gave me the blessed quote. Yours is better but at least the sentiment is the same.

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u/fish312 Sep 29 '22

I remember reading about New Horizon's launch shortly after it happened (circa 2007) and tracking it over the years, watching it cross the orbits of the planets. Never really expected to watch it complete its mission but here we are.

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u/kharedryl Sep 29 '22

Trina Ray worked on Cassini for 20 years. She is a regular guest at Dragon Con, and she is such a delight. Seeing her talk is always a highlight of the weekend.

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u/Godzirrraaa Sep 29 '22

Also, today’s 43 year olds will be 55. Crazy.

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u/Trappist_1G_Sucks Sep 29 '22

And today's 112 year olds will be 124

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u/Single-Bodybuilder31 Sep 29 '22

And a whole lot of people will be dead. Kinda sucks

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u/Leonos Sep 29 '22

There will be unborns that will be 3. Crazy.

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u/SheeEttin Sep 29 '22

There are unborn people that will be between 12 and less than one year old. It's impossible to say for sure.

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u/Pacmanic88 Sep 29 '22

And the 27 year olds will be some kind of age I couldn't begin to calculate.

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u/wildeye-eleven Sep 29 '22

I’ll be 50 when it arrives :c

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u/buschdogg Sep 29 '22

Ha. You’re ol….. shit, I’ll be 50, too.

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u/JUYED-AWK-YACC Sep 29 '22

It’s all part of the business.

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u/GrinningPariah Sep 29 '22

I wondered why the article didn't mention Ingenuity, the Mars drone that tested this technology, guess that explains it.

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u/137-M Sep 29 '22

The article OP posted is taken from, and directly links to the original one posted on the Washington post in 2019. It's right there at the bottom.

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u/off-and-on Sep 29 '22

Mars rovers have to move extremely slowly so it doesn't get into an accident and breaks something, given the signal delay between Mars and Earth. How will that work here? Titan is much further away than Mars, and this will be a flying probe. What if a powerful gust of wind sends it spiraling to the surface? Will they fit it with an AI or something?

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u/xaqss Sep 29 '22

I imagine they would send pre-planned missions to the probe, and it would have some sort of AI to carry out those mission, keep the craft stable, and decide to safely abort the mission if certain safety parameters aren't met.

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u/buuj214 Sep 29 '22

That is pretty much the plan. And when it flies it will fly past the next landing spot, survey some of the area to cover during the next flight, come back, land, do science, and do it again.

There’s not gonna be manual input here, not in terms of real-time flight control

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u/Tricky_Invite8680 Sep 29 '22

That AI drone pilot gonna get sentient real quick when it detects a pterodactyl

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u/Whitluck Sep 29 '22

This mission may perhaps have a satellite included in the payload to act as the primary communicator between Earth and the probe.

Curiousity can do this with orbiting Mars spacecraft. Though I think it still communicates directly to Earth's Deep Space Network

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u/Departure_Sea Sep 29 '22

One thing Cassini did was map the entire surface of Titan, so wer already know most of it's geological surface features.

They can program the drone to go to preplanned locations, it will simply land and avoid objects on its own just like pretty much all big drone makers do already like DJI and Autel with sensor packages. After that it's just automating the science experiments, rinse and repeat.

Pretty simple really, no AI even remotely required.

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u/Ice_Hungry Sep 29 '22

Always thought Europa would have made a better candidate

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u/Harmonious- Sep 29 '22

Europa is a bit of a better candidate. But much harder to check.

Iirc, Europe's "ice" is 10+ miles deep. Meaning we would have to somehow drill 10 + miles into the planet before even hitting water. After getting down to 1 mile there wouldn't even be any light so we would have to rely on sound. Personally, I want to see eldrich horrors before we hear them.

With titan, there is a decent chance for life, and it is "easy" to observe.

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u/Maezel Sep 29 '22

If only there was some way to produce artificial light.

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u/-Jesus-Of-Nazareth- Sep 29 '22

Matches! Give the robot some matches!

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u/kemushi_warui Sep 29 '22

"Oh look, is that a lake of methan~" [FWOOOSH!]

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u/Libberator Sep 29 '22

Cut to a suburban backyard, as a kid is looking through a telescope, and a small plume of fire appears.

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u/PineapplePizzaAlways Sep 29 '22

Then the dog runs up to the kid and they frolic in the grass.

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u/pipsdontsqueak Sep 29 '22

And that's when things got knocked into twelfth gear...

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u/hilfyRau Sep 29 '22

NASA, later that day: “good news! We discovered free oxygen on Europa! Bad news, we immediately turned it all into co2.”

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u/AlwaysLateToThaParty Sep 29 '22

We can't drill down that far (16km) on earth with effectively infinite resources.

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u/xBleedingUKBluex Sep 29 '22

But for entirely different reasons. We can't dig that far on Earth because the deeper we dig, the hotter the material we're digging into becomes. Eventually, you start drilling into material that has the consistency of hot silly putty. On Europa, that wouldn't be nearly an issue. However, there are a whole host of other issues with drilling 10 miles into Europa.

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u/HolyGig Sep 29 '22

there are a whole host of other issues with drilling 10 miles into Europa.

Yes. Like it being on Europa

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u/toomanyfastgains Sep 29 '22

We could use a really long drill, how far away could europa really be?

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u/RayAfterDark Sep 29 '22

Couldn't you just melt down into the ice? With, say, a small fission reactor?

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u/awoeoc Sep 29 '22

This light would have to be bright enough to shine far underwater and be small enough to fit in the 10mile drill hole and be able to be powered by the extremely low power budget spacecraft tend to have.

Would actually be a pretty weak flashlight with a very small visibility radius at best.

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u/OSUfan88 Sep 29 '22

They could actually have an extremely bright LED for the power budgets they'll have. The energy required to melt through that ice is TREMENDOUS. This will almost certainly be performed by a nuclear reactor. Once they are through, they'll have an enormous surplus of power.

One of my best friends is actually working on this project! It's really cool. He gets to travel the world testing the tech.

In addition to straight up very bright white LED's, the system has an incredibly powerful LIDAR system. They're currently testing this out in Earth's caves.

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u/carchi Sep 29 '22

I think it only make sense if you can go under it's thick coat of ice and explore it's oceans.

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u/B-Knight Sep 29 '22

Dragonfly marks the first time NASA will fly a multi-rotor vehicle

Isn't this no longer the case because of Ingenuity?

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u/JPJackPott Sep 29 '22

14% the gravity of earth and 4 times thicker atmosphere. An absolute dream for rotorcraft

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u/entity14 Sep 29 '22

I'm impatient to know what Titan's surface looks like. I hope we will get tons of quality pictures.

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u/volcanopele Sep 29 '22

? We landed on Titan 17 years ago.

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u/entity14 Sep 29 '22

Indeed, but I think it brought back mostly images generated using previous data and a single vertical image of the surface. I might be wrong.

I wish we had the same type of images they take on Mars.

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u/volcanopele Sep 29 '22

DSIR took images and spectra as Huygens descended under a parachute. Couldn’t be generated from earlier images because ISS just didn’t have that kind of real image scale on Titan due to the atmosphere (I still think we did a great job, but the effective resolution was still around 2 km). There were ~100 images from the surface, they just showed the same scene.

But no doubt, Dragonfly will take more and better images.

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u/hypersonic_platypus Sep 29 '22

It's always just rubble strewn desert.

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u/Bad-Lifeguard1746 Sep 29 '22

And the lakes! Please let me see the lakes on Titan before I die.

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u/athenatheta Sep 29 '22

This so much! An actual image of a stable body of liquid on another celestial body would be mindblowing.

I personally would kill to hear a recording of hydrocarbon rain tapping against the metal body of a spacecraft on Titan.

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u/Vaderic Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 29 '22

Good I will never forgive NASA for not doing the TIME mission. It was supposed to be a boat that sailed the one of the seas of titan. How incredibly awe inspiring would that not be?

Edit: I have been informed Titan's bodies of liquid hydrocarbon aren't all that big. So I changed ocean to sea.

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u/[deleted] Sep 29 '22

I watched intently during the Cassini - Huygens mission. Can't wait to see what comes next.

Remember how Mars pics evolved with each new probe. Touch down in a deep methane lake? I think about these things and I drift to sleep every night. Nothing cures my insomnia better than watching a Titan or Voyager doc :) Thanks for posting.

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u/gcso Sep 29 '22

Uhhh post up your favorite docs please

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u/Zagriz Sep 29 '22

I'm not him an I don't have specifics but the YouTube channels Astrum, PBS Spacetime, Cool Worlds, and SEA are all excellent. I have a ton more for general physics and particle physics if you're a fan of that too.

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u/Mephil_ Sep 29 '22

Anton Petrov is great at youtube too for space and other science related news.

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u/worstsupervillanever Sep 29 '22

SEA has been my security blanket for the last year. That voice could put The Mountain to sleep like a newborn in her mother's arms.

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u/G2daG Sep 29 '22

+1 for Astrum, been bingeing the channel recently so much good content! I'll have to check out the others

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u/Pxel315 Sep 29 '22

https://youtu.be/uE5POhMnN78

This doc is brilliant and it explains the mission in detail

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u/Born2fayl Sep 29 '22

Can you share some?

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u/grimestar Sep 29 '22

I just watched a titan doc last night on Amazon and I wish I could've asked them if they felt dissapointment at huygens not actually landing in a lake of methane. They mentioned that it was built into the design since the surface was mostly unknown.

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u/[deleted] Sep 29 '22 edited Oct 15 '22

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u/TheHeroYouKneed Sep 29 '22

I remember my stiffies from the Viking launches and landings. And being sad when Mariner 10 was shut down. And getting the shit beat out of me for being commie filth for saying how cool it was when the Soviets were successful with Venera.

Gonna do my best to be around to see this mission through.

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u/shimi_shima Sep 29 '22

We’ve come a long way. A few hundred years ago the Magellan expedition took 3 years to cover 60,440 km. Now it’s expected to take 8 years to travel 20,000 times that distance.

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u/[deleted] Sep 29 '22

I really hope the fabric of spacetime allows for us to develop wormholes eventually because WE MUST. GO. EVEN FASTER

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u/bighand1 Sep 29 '22

We don’t need to go faster, we just need to live even longer. The latter should be theoretically possible to solve

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u/Djek25 Sep 29 '22

I mean, the closest star is 4 light years away. And we are nowhere near to traveling light speed. We need to go faster.

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u/JcoolTheShipbuilder Sep 29 '22

well going at... 20% lightspeed will get us there in like 20 years, but thats still really long time

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u/SortOfDumbocles Sep 29 '22

But the fastest spacecraft ever made went 0.054% the speed of light and it was going towards the sun so gravity was helping it. We will not reach 20% light speed in our lifetimes without a massive change in technology.

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u/10000Didgeridoos Sep 29 '22

I also think the fastest known natural objects ever found aren't moving much faster than this, either. Maybe less. If it's even possible to get a space station sized craft to 20 percent of light speed and not have it become heavily damaged or catastrophically damages by micrometeorite impacts at that speed, we're centuries or longer away from that level of tech.

The farthest craft we've ever made are Voyager 1 and 2 and they have taken 45 years to go just like 150ish AU. If Planet Nine actually exists at 600 AU distance they'd only be 25 percent of the way there. The next star is tens of thousands of years away at our best current speeds.

It's sadly doubtful anyone alive right now will see anything vastly different than the probes and rocket tech we already know.

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u/soup2nuts Sep 29 '22

We can't even keep the James Webb from getting damaged just sitting there.

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u/lightningbadger Sep 29 '22

Problem is you'll spend almost all of that journey accelerating/ decelerating

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u/Superfluous_Thom Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 29 '22

Has sci fi ever tried to explain how inertial dampeners would even theoretically work? or is it one of those things they just handwave away?

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u/_foo-bar_ Sep 29 '22

Internal dampeners are the hand waving 👋

:)

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u/Superfluous_Thom Sep 29 '22

What I'm trying to ask is, while impossible with our current understanding of physics, are there even any ideal circumstances in which we could push the laws of physics to their limit? Usually writers assume space ships have infinite energy at their disposal to make their stories possible, but even then i cant see how you could use that to stop the human body from exploding the first time they accelerate or decelerate.

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u/Klldarkness Sep 29 '22

It's only a long time to us because 20 years is a full 25% of the extended lifespan a person can expect.

If we lived to 200, at only 10% of our lives, 20 years is short.

If we could figure out cryogenics, where that 20 years is a nap, it's no time at all.

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u/M_a_l_t_u_s Sep 29 '22

Though you would need to make those twenty years entertaining and socially active enough so the humans on board don’t go mad. After all there is no way out in cold space. And the ship must be equipped for any emergency that might rise up since we can’t send help.

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u/Pirate_Redbeard_ Sep 29 '22

we could figure out cryogenics

Bro, haven't you seen Alien? Nobody wants to wake up in a tin bucket deep in space with a special guest hiding around the ship

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u/Klldarkness Sep 29 '22

Not to jinx the entirety of space travel in the future, but, I mean, what are the chances of that happening? :)

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u/random_shitter Sep 29 '22

insert [here] the Terry Pratchett approach to one in a million chances.

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u/mayasky76 Sep 29 '22

Yeah but that sounds like 1 in 999,999 so its practically impossible

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u/[deleted] Sep 29 '22

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u/Kindly_Blackberry967 Sep 29 '22

Ok but I’m not waiting 80 years to hear back from Alpha Centauri

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u/xSARGEx117x Sep 29 '22

You don't have to.

If you send an email to family in AC, you'll only have to wait EIGHT years.

See, it's so quick!

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u/syadastfu Sep 29 '22

Live fast, die young. Them's the rules.

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u/OttoVonWong Sep 29 '22

And leave a good looking corpse traveling at the speed of light.

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u/stoicsilence Sep 29 '22

and create colony ships that are self enclosed self sustainable environments with the full expectation that people are going to live on them for generations before they get anywhere.

So many hard scifi stories I've read lately have giant O'Neil cylinders as colony ships.

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u/urmomaisjabbathehutt Sep 29 '22

The issue i have with generation ships is that if we can figure out a way to live out there for centuries why bother with planets?, just stay around exploiting the resources of the solar system and as a bonus there is something near capable of providing maintenance and people being able to stay in contact and mingle with a whole civilization nearby

the only reason for those people to go to a different star system is to send a research vesel for science or to escape to another star billions of years in the future at the sun end of life

if we did develop easy ftl it would be different of course as having the ability for instant travel would meanpeople would do it just for kicks

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u/Matshelge Sep 29 '22

We can send information at the speed of light, now if we could digitize our "self" and upload it into a ready made body, you could send blank bodies to the desired location and send our "self" after at the speed light.

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u/dabman Sep 29 '22

Transferring brain.exe, 1.7 GB of 224 EB uploaded, 2.4 MB/sec, estimated time to complete: 3 million years.

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u/puttje69 Sep 29 '22

Our brains are estimated to be able to store 2.5 petabytes of data... it would take a while, indeed

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u/Aerizon Sep 29 '22

Could save some space if you left out the lolcat videos

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u/littlefriend77 Sep 29 '22

Plus the next time you saw them you'd be as delighted as you were the first time.

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u/toddthefrog Sep 29 '22

It’s bold of you to assume my brain would take longer than 10 minutes at 2.4 MB/sec

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u/Fishperson95 Sep 29 '22

Okay but what constitutes a "blank" body and how would it be built? Seems like the teleportation paradox with extra steps

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u/Matshelge Sep 29 '22

If we can copy of a brain, we should be able to either make an artificial one with engineering and the power of steel. Or you can grow one in a vat.

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u/IIIllIIlllIlII Sep 29 '22

My wife grew a brain in her vat belly.

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u/Matshelge Sep 29 '22

If she could do it in 9 months, I don't see why 100 bio engineers can't pull it with the right funding and time.

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u/IIIllIIlllIlII Sep 29 '22

Yeah. If it takes one woman 9 months to grow a brain inside a baby, surely 9 women can do it in one month.

MythicalManMonth

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u/Just_Sara_ Sep 29 '22

I doubt that we could survive just repairing the same ship for several thousand years if we're in space.

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u/talminator101 Sep 29 '22

Imagine several millennia of the same boring office job

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u/Jcit878 Sep 29 '22

living longer helps us get there, but time still degrades electronic systems and mechanical systems a ship will still be using. sure we can repair things but an interstellar ship will always be a closed system no matter how long the occupants can live for, and closed systems inherinently decay over time inevitably.

we need faster

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u/ngwoo Sep 29 '22

Because of relativity, 1g of constant acceleration would facilitate a round trip to anywhere in the known universe within a human lifetime (for the occupants, probably no Earth to come back to). Also solves the issue of living your whole life in micro gravity because it would just feel like earth inside.

Of course 1g of constant acceleration requires an unfathomable amount of energy and we'll likely never achieve a craft that can travel anywhere near that fast, but at the very least it's possible to go anywhere we want without having to make fantasy physics real.

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u/poonslyr69 Sep 29 '22

We cannot exceed the speed of light, the speed of light is the speed of causality.

It is more likely that if we ever have the unlimited energy required for FTL then we would have already colonized the entire galaxy and harnessed all the power within it by that point.

Altering causality by traveling FTL is not a matter of speed either way, it would require a breakdown of cause and effect.

I’d like to believe that time is an insurmountable force, that keeps the barriers between places and even separate universes intact.

We’ll probably be happier just zooming around as digitized minds transmitted on light from point to point or even just skimming along in muon catalyzed anti-matter torch ships heading at 10% the speed of light and living hundreds of years due to genetic modifications.

Besides, maybe once we can attain those sorts of technologies we’ll realize that all we’ve been seeking has been around us all along, and adventure in space has lost its lustre once we find societal contentment on earth.

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u/chaddjohnson Sep 29 '22

Seriously, yes. We really need wormhole technology — it’s the only way we’d be able to feasibly explore the universe.

What would be amazing is if we could create microscopic wormholes and use them as cameras, like in the book The Light of Other Days.

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u/kkungergo Sep 29 '22

Good news, multiple theoritical ways to bend space have already been created by phisicists, we only need to find practical ways to achive it.

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u/Nachtzug79 Sep 29 '22

The Magellan expedition carried humans, though...

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u/Yakostovian Sep 29 '22

My brain saw "Magellan expedition" and inserted "Magellan Probe" and I had a very hard time figuring out how some stranger on the internet thought we launched probes into space "a few hundred years ago."

I blame my momentary lapse of cognition on staying up way past my bedtime.

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u/thisrockismyboone Sep 29 '22

Dude me too, except I had a legit laspe of reason. I was trying my best to think when we landed on the moon and was like woah that was already 100 years ago??

Wait no. MAGELLAN?

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u/PenilePasta Sep 29 '22

Dude I thought the same thing don’t worry, was wondering why the comment had so many upvotes or if it was a joke I missed lol

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u/captainjon Sep 29 '22

Or 1,208,800,000 km (1.2088 × 10⁹). Or 1.12 light hours.

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u/CharlieHush Sep 29 '22

It's been a long road, getting from there to here.

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u/Hak_Titansoul Sep 29 '22

I hope I last that long. I mean, I'm only 30, so I probably will, but shit happens. I just hope I can see the depths of Titan!

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u/Uuueehhh Sep 29 '22

34 here. Same man, I'm so excited.

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u/the_peckham_pouncer Sep 29 '22

I'm 146 years old. We got this.

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u/Cheap_Woodpecker Sep 29 '22

Nope. I’m 50 and travelled back from 2564. Still no aliens.

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u/MonkeFUCK3R_69 Sep 29 '22

Do we have satelites in other star systems?

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u/Cheap_Woodpecker Sep 29 '22

We only have really really really big telescopes

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u/MonkeFUCK3R_69 Sep 29 '22

any other big news? Which countries are the world powers and is there peace

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u/Shitspear Sep 29 '22

After WWXI fiji assumed controll over earth and its colonies

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u/Prof_X_69420 Sep 29 '22

Im your age and Im starting to get worried if I will see all this discoveries in my life time...

I just hope to live long enouth for the discovery of life elsewhere

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u/upyoars Sep 29 '22

31 here, but man.. the way some of us 30 year olds talk makes me feel like we're in our early 20s or something

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u/Pretty_Pixilated Sep 29 '22

Yeah I’m about to be 40 and I’m thinking “gotta make it past 50 to see more Titan I guess…” though I would love to send a sub below the ice layers…

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u/moreorlesser Sep 29 '22

or a sub into the methane oceans themselves!

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u/Mob_Abominator Sep 29 '22

Isn't the top candidate for life in our solar system Europa ?

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u/theTIDEisRISING Sep 29 '22

Titan and Europa are two of the most likely. Someone more knowledgeable than I can explain it better, but Titan has critical elements present that could sustain life

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u/[deleted] Sep 29 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

[deleted]

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u/NorthernViews Sep 29 '22

Both Europa and Enceladus are top candidates but you’d have to get through miles of thick ice to reach the subsurface oceans. Doable in time, but Titan looks to have these lakes and rivers on the surface without any large ice barrier. Add in the thickest atmosphere of any moon in the solar system, and it’s probably a better candidate at this moment than the other two.

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u/WarGrizzly Sep 29 '22

oh is it really miles thick? that's wild. even if we got through it, I imagine broadcasting a signal back out would require coming back up to the surface right? surely miles of ice would block any transmitting ability?

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u/the_friendly_dildo Sep 29 '22

Most plans for tunneling into Europa or Enceladus have a tethered base station that stays on the surface to transmit to a relay satellite.

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u/Teo9631 Sep 29 '22

It is Europa and Euceladus actually.

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u/i_have_chosen_a_name Sep 29 '22

Yeah but we got a warning not to attempt any landings there.

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u/SienarYeetSystems Sep 29 '22

Well the Deep Stone Crypt is there, so just not life as we know it

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u/Travis5223 Sep 29 '22

Ya know, it’s kind of funny that we’ve still never been. Our Guardians went searching for the Crypt, but our dumbasses went up to the STAR observatory and crashed it back down to Europa. All we had to do was go straight once we arrived inside, but nooo, we had to go Right towards the Security instead.

I so, SO hope S19’s dungeon has us exploring the Crypt proper.

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u/[deleted] Sep 29 '22

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u/Pretty_Bowler2297 Sep 29 '22

I’d feel like a mission to Europa would be better but perhaps the technology isn’t yet there.

Soft landing. Drill through thick ice. Submarines. Etc. etc. Titan meanwhile has a thick atmosphere that could slow down probes and has liquid methane on the surface.

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u/racinreaver Sep 29 '22

I've worked on formulation studies for Europa shooting for a late 2040 launch and it's on the edge on possibility. If we get better data on the ice sheet thickness, it's composition, and surface morphology it'll make mission designs orders of magnitude better.

BTW, current strat is using waste heat from RTGs to melt through 10-150 km of ice possibly with a drill to assist because we don't know if there are huge chunks of salt accumulations in the ice or large rocky fragments.

Planetary protection is an enormous obstacle for Europa's oceans, as it would need to survive 1000 years without corroding through and/or breaking due to pressure because we don't want to contaminate the ocean, and we can never be sure we've perfectly sterilized the spacecraft.

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u/camikaze007 Sep 29 '22

Hopefully we'll get some of those answers from Europa Clipper!

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u/dedom19 Sep 29 '22

You know, I've never given it much thought. But the idea that contamination from a probe that explored Earth millions of years ago being why we are here is a cool thought.

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u/SmolSnakePancake Sep 29 '22

We've got Eurpoa/Clipper going right now

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u/ourlastchancefortea Sep 29 '22

Which is why we have the Europa Clipper mission: https://europa.nasa.gov/

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u/The-Apprentice-Autho Sep 29 '22

If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere. Can’t wait to see the progress!

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u/TheeJarod Sep 29 '22

Nothing makes me happier than seeing new endeavors into space.

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u/catchtoward5000 Sep 29 '22

Just imagine if mankind was fully united, what we could have achieved by now out in space. I understand it’s not realistic, but just imagine.

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u/[deleted] Sep 29 '22 To The Stars

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u/[deleted] Sep 29 '22

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u/CarioGod Sep 29 '22

Just imagine Huygens has been sitting there for almost 2 decades untouched, would be sick if they landed near it and found it

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u/annualburner202209 Sep 29 '22

At those temperatures?

Well, if there is something, at least we don't have to spend the next decade wondering if it somehow has terrestrial origins. No way anything remotely terrestrial survives there. It would be clearly alien.

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u/moderngamer327 Sep 29 '22

The life on titan would be very different as it would be methane based life instead of water based life

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u/SirButcher Sep 29 '22

And for them, we are lava monsters! As Titan has cryovolcanoes: vulcanos spitting out extremely hot - for them - liquid water! Imagine monstrosities who have literal lava in their veins.

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u/Stormrage117 Sep 29 '22

Ever since I was a kid it has always been my firm belief that some form of life exists on Titan. My friends and I had a little club built around the idea of aliens from Titan.

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u/Kalabula Sep 29 '22

Any sort of alien life will likely be bacteria, no?

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u/PotterWizard50 Sep 29 '22

Probably, but just the proof that we aren’t alone in the universe would be massive, and the bacteria would likely be unlike anything anyone has ever seen before

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u/Azidamadjida Sep 29 '22

Right? I don’t need to see little green men or spaceships come down and declare “we come in peace” - just seeing proof that life can evolve on other planets and develop in alien environments would be HUGE. It’s gotta start somewhere

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u/CocoDaPuf Sep 29 '22

Honestly, I'd see it as a pretty grim sign if we discover life on another planet or moon in our solar system (and if it seems to have developed there independently). Because if life is common and develops anywhere with liquid water... then why is the galaxy so quiet? Why haven't we been contacted by intelligent life from any one of the 100 billion stars in this galaxy?

It would imply that life happens all the time, but survival is unfathomably rare...

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u/SirAquila Sep 29 '22

Or that the universe was more hostile to life in days past. Or that multicellularism is a big step only a few organisms take and even less successfully. Or that we simply got lucky and managed to evolve in a pocket of safety in an already claimed universe.

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u/Cole-Spudmoney Sep 29 '22

Or that multicellularism is a big step only a few organisms take and even less successfully.

Not just multicellular life, but intelligent multicellular life. Intelligence isn’t a definite end goal of evolution, it’s just one survival strategy among many.

And not just intelligent life, but intelligent life that can invent technology. For example, elephants and whales are intelligent but they don’t use tools.

And they’d have to not only be able to invent technology, but also form complex organised civilisations. Humans have only been doing that for a small fraction of the time our species has existed, compared to how long we were all just isolated tribes of hunter-gatherers.

So, yeah, I think a lot of people just don’t realise how many hurdles our species has already cleared. Maybe if they did, they wouldn’t feel so pessimistic about our survival.

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u/HoneyBadgerPainSauce Sep 29 '22

Until we find another planet with complex life, or even better, intelligent; we'll never know how many Great Filters we may or may not have made it past.

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u/HeavilyBearded Sep 29 '22

one of the 100 billion stars

Right there is probably why.

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u/fish312 Sep 29 '22

That's like yelling from your kayak in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and complaining why the seas are so quiet and empty.

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u/wannabestraight Sep 29 '22

The same reason we havent contacted anyone. Everything is so fucking far away, its as likely that any other life is facing the same dilemma regarding the vastnes of space.

Imagine there is a planet with blossoming civilization, but its 150 light years away.

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u/maximumutility Sep 29 '22

Not necessarily. It could imply that life happens all the time, but evolving beyond the microscopic is rare.

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u/wannabestraight Sep 29 '22

Also, there are 10 trillion planets..... And our sample size is what, like a hundred?

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u/buuj214 Sep 29 '22

Well you’re also talking about the probability that humans exist not only close enough in distance, but also close enough in time. The entire existence of humanity will represent a blip on the timeline of the universe. The chance that another life form advanced during, essentially that same precise instant, is low.

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u/stigmaboy Sep 29 '22

What if we're the first, at least in this neighborhood of the galaxy

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u/quantic56d Sep 29 '22

Like some kind of black oil that can survive in very cold environments?

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u/Netsuko Sep 29 '22

I would actually wager that the bacteria would be very similar. The laws of physics and nature are constant throughout the universe as far as we know. Certainly so in our direct neighborhood. We know what Titan is made off and what conditions there are. I t’s unlikely that, should we find bacteria, that they will be very different from these on earth. At least that is my guess. It is if we ever find a place that has life where we don’t expect it where things will get wild.

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u/M_a_l_t_u_s Sep 29 '22

Yes, I agree. There are some fundamentals like how special carbon is in the periodic system that make it fairly unlikely for a life to divert too far away from us. Though the details could be different depending on the evolutionary paths the organisms took.

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u/heyimjason Sep 29 '22

I’m gonna lick the Titan bacteria.

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u/cambeiu Sep 29 '22

But even if it is microscopic, it will be a titan.

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u/turingchurch Sep 29 '22

Almost certainly not bacteria (even on Earth, not all single-celled organisms are bacteria), but probably microscopic if it exists.

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u/MrPanda663 Sep 29 '22

I would theorize that it would be just micro organisms. However it would still be amazing to see what kind of body structure they have and to learn their habits in Titan's environment.

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u/Uuueehhh Sep 29 '22

I'm a huge microbiology nut, and that's what really gets me excited, cellular structure, composition, biological defense mechanisms, hell, microbiological discoveries could lead to new metamaterials. That's not even bringing up medical breakthroughs that could be made

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u/delegateTHIS Sep 29 '22

Fingers crossed NASA includes an optical microscope for this!

Incinerating the samples for a spectrograph is so Mars missiony.

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u/SeptemberMcGee Sep 29 '22

All I want before I die is to have confirmation alien life exists. To see it would be truly amazing.

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u/DeckerR Sep 29 '22

YES. FINALLY. Titan is way too interesting to ignore.

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u/permaunbanned123 Sep 29 '22

We need a tether-controlled submarine with a maximum depth of 2k, a boat, and several orbital relays.

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u/MyShinyNewReddit Sep 29 '22

What about Europa? I thought that was the best candidate for life.

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u/_invalidusername Sep 29 '22

Do we know much about the atmospheric conditions on titan? What if it’s super windy? Would the drone still work?

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u/DontSayAndStuff Sep 29 '22

We've sent a probe that landed in 2005 and even got surface photos. The atmosphere is very dense and the gravity is low.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huygens_(spacecraft)

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u/COACHREEVES Sep 29 '22

I am shocked and happy it is leaving in '26.

It seems like things like this when announced would typically be: Planned to LEAVE in '34 arrive in '42...

So i am delighted, if slightly bummed it didn't leave in '13 :)

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u/Rain1dog Sep 29 '22

Personally I’d much rather see Europa or Enceladus. I’ve been hoping for these moons to be explored before my passing and not likely at age 46.

I’d be shocked if life was found on Titan, and I wanted to be shocked. No matter what happens amazing science will happen no matter the location.

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u/nexistcsgo Sep 29 '22

What's our procedure if we do find life there? Say microscopic life, found underneath the frozen surface with liquid water.

Do we bring a sample back to study? How do we even do that?

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u/BelAirGhetto Sep 29 '22

First, rewrite the religious texts!

JK!

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u/CarlJH Sep 29 '22

This mission is awesome. I'm very excited about it. My company is going to be building some of the hardware for this mission.

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u/morganthedelfenman Sep 29 '22

Yeah that’s where my boy Chrono lives. Plays a mean German Bat ball

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u/shortordercook Sep 29 '22

Somebody up there must like you

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u/Saaaaaaaam Sep 29 '22

This guy chronosynclasticly infundibulates.

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u/AttractivestDuckwing Sep 29 '22 I'll Drink to That

Well, just one marooned Trafalmadorian, anyway...

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u/ThreeBeatles Sep 29 '22

Hope the aliens there don’t feel threatened. They may call it an ATTACK ON TITAN

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u/Chickston Sep 29 '22

This is why I quit drinking. This is the kind of thing I want to stick around for! Oh and my family.. but they will be excited for this too. Win/win all around.