NASA has unveiled plans to send a submarine into the depths of the largest ocean of Saturn's biggest moon, Titan in a bid to explore the depths of its largest ocean.
The aim to find the chemical composition
of the largest ocean of the moon, Kraken Mare and search for signs of life.
Jason Hartwig, a NASA cryogenics engineer has disclosed the idea while he was giving a presentation at NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Symposium in Raleigh, reports inverse.com.
"There are really two big reasons why we want to go to Titan. Number one: to determine if hydrocarbon based life is possible on Titan," he said.
Number two: as the only moon in our solar system with clouds and an atmosphere, Titan is very similar to Earth — apart from the extreme cold and oceans of liquid methane. But hidden in the methane sea may be clues to how life evolved and potentially some weird extraterrestrial microbes.
The submarine will be about 6 meters long, equipped with a small plutonium engine in the back called a Stirling radioisotope generator (SRG). The heat from the engine keeps the electronics
in the front of the sub warm. That's vital because the hydrocarbon seas are a frigid minus 180 degrees celsius.
And the sub also has a potentially retractable sail that runs along its length. After 8 hours under Kraken Mare, it would resurface, Hartwig says, "and have 16 hours to communicate and recharge and all that."
The ocean unlike the oceans on earth is not made up of water but is formed by liquid hydrocarbons. The pressure of the methane ocean that the submarine will go through will be very high and it will start to freeze at 400-500 meters below the surface.