Scientists Want 'Space Boat' to Explore Titan's Lakes

Saturn's moon is full of lakes, rivers, seas
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2012 7:31 AM CDT
An image provided by NASA shows Saturn's largest moon Titan passing in front of the giant planet in an image made by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – If you think the Mars rover is cool, wait until you hear this: Scientists want to send a "space boat" to explore Saturn's largest moon, Titan. The floating probe would land in one of the moon's many methane lakes and would explore its many lakes, rivers, and seas of liquid hydrocarbons. The initial destination of the Titan Lake In-situ Sampling Propelled Explorer (TALISE) would be Ligeia Mare, the largest of the lakes; TALISE would then travel to the coast over the course of six months to a year, reports.

"The main innovation in TALISE is the propulsion system," says a member of the Spain-based TALISE team. "This allows the probe to move, under control, from the landing site in the lake, to the closest shore. The displacement capability would achieve the obtaining of liquid and solid samples from several scientific interesting locations on Titan's surface." Titan is one of the bodies in the solar system most similar to Earth, and scientists have speculated it could be hospitable to life—which is why they are eager to explore it. Click for more on the proposed mission. (Read more Saturn stories.)

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