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Space Submarine to Saturn's Moon Titan To Explore Its Oceans

Scientists are sending a submarine to Saturn's moon Titan to explore its alien oceans in search of life and to possibly understand how life began on our own planet? Researchers are studying two main ocean on Titan The Kraken Mare and Ligeia Mare. Both were discovered fairly recently by the Cassini Space Probe. Ligeia Mare is less than 200 meters deep, but the Kraken Mare's depth is still unknown. 

Sending this Submarine could answer a lot of question including the depth. Titan might also answer a lot of geological questions of our planet because Titan is composed of a nitrogen-rich atmosphere, It also has seasonal cycles, ocean waves, possible ice water, landscape erosions and a hot rocky core. These all sound very familiar as it has a lot in common with our own planet Earth.

The goal is to have the submarine dive deep into the oceans and look at heavy metals that might have settled down to the bottom. They will use a mass spectrometer to measure the elements and see what they are made of. 

In order to gather data, the submarine will have to be prepared for these mysterious and icy cold oceans on the moon and also there are a few obstacles to that. The pressure on Titan, for example, is about 60% more than on Earth. 



So researchers at Washington State University partnered with NASA to try and re-create the oceans of Titan, but in a lab here on Earth. They did this by making a pressurized chamber and filling it with liquid Methane, liquid Ethane and Nitrogen gas to simulate the environment on Titan. Then they cooled it to about - 150-degree c and boom a mini-Titan ocean. 

Inside they were able to test the equipment that they are going to use in space. For example, they engineered a borescope and a video camera that could withstand the super cold temperature and high pressures on Titan. But unlike other probes, we can't rely on solar power for this mission, So they are planning on installing an RTG i.e Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator. Basically, this is unclear.


The challenges of engineering a submarine which will be headed to another moon is just astronomical. But hopefully, we are going to answer a lot of unanswered questions about how life began on our own planet and possibly life in our solar system.
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