Recent reports from NASA claim that their scientists are currently hard at work on a new kind of submarine fit to cross the oceans of liquid methane on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.
Scientists Trying to Build a Submarine to Use in Space
Given its great distance from Earth, any mission to Titan is still several decades away. Even so, scientists are planning ahead as they attempt to build a submarine that could survive in liquid methane on the moon’s surface.
In addition to its necessity to withstand the methane itself, any submarine that would be of actual use to astronauts would have to be able to withstand temperatures that regularly reached as low as -300 degrees Fahrenheit.
NASA is developing the submarine in conjunction with a team from Washington State University. Together, they will attempt to recreate the conditions a sub would need to endure in space at home, here on Earth. They are doing so in the hopes of eliminating as many risks as possible before any mission to Titan itself.
For many years, this moon remained one of the most interesting yet elusive subjects of interest to astronomers. With an atmosphere composed mostly of nitrogen, its conditions are startlingly close to those here on our planet. This makes it the most Earth-like body in our solar system.
However, liquids on Titan seem to be composed primarily of methane rather than water. As such, this makes it unlikely for humans ever to be able to live there.
Even so, scientists believe a closer look at the moon could teach us a lot about our planet. Currently, NASA estimates that a submarine mission would not be ready until around 2038 at the earliest.
Still, nothing is set in stone for the time being. Until then, scientists are working hard to work out as many kinks as possible before a launch.
Image Source: NASA