Dragonfly mission selected!

Greetings, Earthlings!

I am back from the far reaches of the universe and have some exciting news to share this season, so be sure to check back every Monday!

Up first, let us celebrate the recent NASA announcement to confirm the Dragonfly mission!

Dragonfly mission symbol. Image credit: NASA/JHU-APL

Dragonfly mission symbol. Image credit: NASA/JHU-APL

The Dragonfly mission will fly a variety of instruments on a variety of techniques, such as an orbiter AND drones!

From NASA: “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 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.”

Dragonfly will launch in 2026 and arrive in 2034.

Dragonfly was selected as part of the agency’s New Frontiers program (the same program that enabled the New Horizons, Juno, and OSIRIS-REx missions!) Dragonfly is led by Principal Investigator Elizabeth Turtle, who is based at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

From NASA: “With the Dragonfly mission, NASA will once again do what no one else can do,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Visiting this mysterious ocean world could revolutionize what we know about life in the universe. This cutting-edge mission would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago, but we’re now ready for Dragonfly’s amazing flight.”

This illustration shows NASA’s Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander approaching a site on Saturn’s exotic moon, Titan. Image credit: NASA/JHU-APL

This illustration shows NASA’s Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander approaching a site on Saturn’s exotic moon, Titan. Image credit: NASA/JHU-APL

Be sure to check out the mission website for updates and details at: https://dragonfly.jhuapl.edu/

Thank you for reading and come back next week for a look at protoplanets around star HD 97048!

Caitlin Ahrens