A submarine could explore alien seas just a few decades from now.
Researchers have been crafting a concept mission that would send a submarine to Saturn’s huge moon Titan, which sports lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons on its frigid surface.
Such a mission, if approved and funded by NASA, could be ready to launch in the 2030s, potentially paving the way for even more ambitious submarine exploration down the road, the concept’s developers said.
“We feel that the Titan submarine is kind of a first step before you go do a Europa or Enceladus” sub mission, Steven Oleson, of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio, said last month during a presentation with the agency’s Future In-Space Operations working group.
Europa and Enceladus — moons of Jupiter and Saturn, respectively — both harbor huge oceans of liquid water. But these two water bodies are buried under ice shells and would therefore be tougher to drop a sub into than Titan’s surface seas.
Read more: Space