>Unable to use solar power under Titan's hazy atmosphere, Dragonfly would use a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), like the durable Curiosity rover on Mars. Flight, data transmission, and most science operations would be planned during Titan's daytime hours (eight Earth days), giving the rotorcraft plenty of time during the Titan night to recharge.
They call it a dual-quadcopter. That may indicate that the configuration is for control redundancy, as well as increased lift and compactness.
I feel so lucky to live in this grand age of exploration - where computer power, materials science and advanced engineering enable us to visit our solar system.
Several commercial nuclear powered ships were built, the Savannah by the US, and single ships by both Germany, the Otto Hahn, and Japan, Mutsu. All proved uneconomical, the Mutsu had major technical issues, and were either scrapped or converted to conventional fossil propulsion.
Among the more pressing problems is the size and loss rate of the civillian cargo fleet. From the United Nations Council on Trade and Development's Review of Maritime Transport: 2014. Total fleet size 47,601 registered ships, totaling 1.68 million deadweight tons. By type and deadweight tonnage:
* Container: 12.8%
* Dry Bulk: 42.9%
* General Cargo: 12.8%
* Oil Tanker: 28.5%
* Other: 11.2%
And those sink. With surprising frequency. From from "Monsterwellen", by Donovan Hohn in Outside magazine:
This is one reason merchant seafaring is still, by some accounts, the world's second-most-dangerous occupation, after commercial fishing. According to Imperial College London, 200 supertankers and container ships have sunk in the past two decades due to weather. Wolfgang Rosenthal, a scientist at the European Space Agency, which studies sea conditions via satellite, estimates that two "large ships" sink every week on average. Most of these, he says, "simply get put down to bad weather.'
Installing nuclear plants in modern civilian ships is a non-starter for safety, security, and cost reasons.
The Curiosity rover has been on Mars for 6 years. It can travel 90m/hour. Theoretically, it could have moved 3,400km by now- that's more than once around the equator of Mars. It's managed almost 20km. While I'm sure there was much to pause and study, I cannot fathom that it could not have done more in it's time were it not constantly waiting for commands.
Saturn is, at closest approach, more than 1 light hour away.
I feel as though there's a real need to put a generic computer system that can be reprogrammed after launch into orbit around whatever planet we're studying. Give it higher-level commands of what we want to see happen, and send us back the highlight reel.
”NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., […] engineered Curiosity […] to travel up to about 200 meters (660 feet) per day on Martian terrain.”
> It can travel up to 90 m (300 ft) per hour
>Buried in the campaign finance reports available to the public are some troubling connections between a group of wealthy donors with ties to Russia and their political contributions to President Donald Trump and a number of top Republican leaders. And thanks to changes in campaign finance laws, the political contributions are legal.
Or also naming rights would be a cool way to get funding. Or early access to the imagery.
Lots of stuff they could do.
Maybe down the road private operations like SpaceX will be funded enough for stuff like this. Doubtful though.
That's what political parties are for. The current US duopoly on representation is a problem.
Quite honestly being opposites on each of the issues is not helping. I think that having a points distribution on every tax return would be amazing. It need not have any legal force, just be released publicly so all can see. Brings a feeling of real impact.
That was my point. I other countries there are bigger range of views to choose, other than the US "radical neoliberalism" and "moderate neoliberalism".
This is a multicopter design that would be able to fly and hover in Titan’s thick atmosphere.
they are really trolling the crackpots here by saying incorporating instead of implementing extraterrestrial drone technology...
Yes I realize the other option detailed in the article is a comet sample return. Meh, some comets do that for free you know? I say at this point, go big or stay on Earth.
They aren't doing it for the pictures of rocks, these missions have science goals you know.
Given the reality of a limited budget, I'd prefer to see those resources spent towards doing something new, more challenging, and more interesting; such as landing on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn (or even a more durable modern lander/drone on Venus). Also I think there is plenty of science to be had on a geologically active moon with a significant atmosphere.
A Neptune orbiter could give us a detailed look at both an ice giant and it's dwarf-planet-sized moon Triton, believed to be a captured KBO.
Edit: The low wattage of RTGs strikes again. This thing will do one hop every Titan day (16 Earth days) .
Edit 2: I'm conflating atmospheric pressure and density. However, it appears to have a 98.4% nitrogen atmosphere, so that seems reasonable.
Why are we calling rover deones now? Clickbait?
> Is it a quad copter?
No; current designs are showing it to be an octocopter.