NASA demonstrated its vision of a robot - a submarine, which could study the vast lakes of liquid methane and ethane on the surface of the satellite Saturn Titan.
Titan is the only satellite in the solar system that has an atmosphere and this atmosphere, as is well known, has its own methane cycle, by analogy with the water cycle on Earth.
Several seas were scrutinized by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft during several flights over the satellite. Some of these lakes are on average several meters deep, while others have a depth of more than 200 meters (660 feet) —the maximum depth to which Cassini radar can penetrate.
So if scientists want to explore Titan, they must find a way to dive into these seas to uncover their secrets.
At the International Symposium of Advanced Concepts and Technologies of NASA this year, a team of specialists from an applied research laboratory presented a concept - a submarine. The intended purpose of the mission could be the largest sea of Titan - Kracken Mare. The submarine will have to make a journey of 2000 km (1250 miles) and a duration of 90 days, exploring the depths of this vast alien environment. To survive for such a long time under the surface of the methane sea, the submarine must have a radioisotope generator. This power source converts the heat produced by radioactive pellets into electricity. Currently, a similar power source is used on the Cassini spacecraft and the Curiosity rover.
When the submarine sinks into the sea, communication with the Earth is not possible, so it will be necessary to make regular ascents to the surface in order to transmit the received data.
Although at such an early stage it is not yet clear what the mission will focus on, it would be very interesting to carry out a chemical analysis at various depths of Kracken Mare.