Dragonfly is a ‘relocatable lander’ drone designed to fly on Saturn’s Titan moon

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It turns out that Titan, one of Saturn’s many moons, is a relatively optimal place to fly a drone. This is due to the fact that Titan’s atmosphere is four times denser than the Earth’s. So when NASA chose Titan as the next location to “search for the building blocks of life,” they decided to take advantage of that by using a drone instead of a typical rover.

Dragonfly will essentially be a large drone with eight rotors that weighs in at around 1,200 pounds. It will be approximately the same size as the Curiosity rover, only much more maneuverable due to its form factor.

Described as a “relocatable lander,” Dragonfly will travel by flight from location to location much quicker than even the fastest rover to date. NASA describes Dragonfly’s capabilities as being able to “fly its entire science payload to new places for repeatable and targeted access to surface materials.”

Dragonfly was chosen to be part of NASA’s New Frontiers program. The purpose of the program is to “support missions that have been identified as top solar system exploration priorities by the planetary community.”

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How solar powered drones are about to transform your life

 George Bye at the DaVinci Institute’s “Night with a Futurist” talking about the future of solar powered UAVs

George Bye is the founder of Bye Aerospace, a Colorado company involved in the design of a unique solar-electric powered aircraft that use solar electric energy, stored in batteries, to drive a propeller to both fly and stay aloft for long periods of time. A special combination of technologies and design will enable the current small UAVs to maintain station, with flight endurance of 8 to 12 hours at a time – several multiples of typical aviation gasoline fuel engine UAVs. A more extreme version of this capability will be engineered into Bye’s future aircraft (both civil and defense).

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Season’s Discovered on Neptune’s Moon Triton

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Neptune’s largest moon Triton undergoes seasonal variations just like the Earth and is presently experiencing summer in its southern hemisphere, astronomers have found.

In a first-ever infrared analysis of Triton’s atmosphere with the help of ESO’s Very Large Telescope, the researchers have found presence of frozen nitrogen, carbon monoxide and methane on the moon’s thin surface which turn into gas as the southern hemisphere warms up by the Sun. The thin, icy atmosphere then thickens as the season advances during Neptune’s 165-year orbit around the Sun.

“We have found real evidence that the Sun still makes its presence felt on Triton, even from so far away. This icy moon actually has seasons just as we do on Earth, but they change far more slowly,” said Emmanuel Lellouch, lead author of the paper reporting the results in Astronomy & Astrophysics journal.

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World’s Most Powerful Electron Microscope

World’s Most Powerful Electron Microscope 

 Titan 80-300 Cubed Microscope

The Hubble telescope has a competitor. It’s not a telescope, but a microscope. The competition isn’t looking for stars and galaxies, but seeking atomic levels instead. McMaster University Canada has installed the world’s most powerful electron microscope at its Center for Electron Microscopy. Built in the Netherlands, the Titan 80-300 Cubed microscope is the planet’s most powerful and advanced microscope.

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