This week has been a tough one for those who follow the news. Brian Williams, Bob Simon, David Carr, the brutal actions from ISIS, and more snow for Boston have all made for too much to think about and too many reasons to ponder what is wrong and unjust. All this makes me want to think about other things.
Which leads me to sending a submarine to Titan.
Titan, a moon on Saturn, has lakes and seas of liquid methane, which NASA is thinking of exploring by 2040. So, instead of rover like the Mars missions use, they will need a submarine. NASA explains the reason for the mission this way:
We propose to develop a conceptual design of a submersible autonomous vehicle (submarine) to explore extraterrestrial seas. Specifically, to send a submarine to Titan’s largest northern sea, Kraken Mare. This craft will autonomously carry out detailed scientific investigations under the surface of Kraken Mare, providing unprecedented knowledge of an extraterrestrial sea and expanding NASA’s existing capabilities in planetary exploration to include in situ nautical operations. Sprawling over some 1000 km, with depths estimated at 300 m, Kraken Mare is comparable in size to the Great Lakes and represents an opportunity for an unprecedented planetary exploration mission. This mission would be a logical follow-on to a Titan surface mission such as TiME (Titan Mare Explorer) or even a component of a flagship mission of multiple vehicles.