While the rover Curiosity is driving almost flawlessly on Mars, scientists are proposing another exciting possibility for extraterrestrial exploration: a probe that would sail across a lake on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.
SENER, a private engineering and technology group, is partnering with Spain’s Centro de Astrobiología to propose the Titan Lake In-situ Sampling Propeller Explorer (PDF), TALISE for short. "Talise" is the Iroquois word for "beautiful water."
TALISE is a boat probe that would navigate Ligeia Mare, a large lake on Titan, making extensive scientific analyses during the journey. Scientists involved say the mission would be broken up into three phases and last six months to a year.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule remains on course for the International Space Station despite losing one of nine booster engines, but a satellite launched on the same rocket didn't reach its intended orbit, its operator said Monday.
SpaceX launched the first commercial space cargo mission on Sunday night. But a minute and 19 seconds after the Falcon 9 booster lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, one of the nine Merlin engines that power the rocket "lost pressure suddenly," the company disclosed Monday.
The rocket "did exactly what it was designed to do," as its flight computer made adjustments to keep the Dragon headed into the proper orbit. The unmanned capsule, which is carrying about 1,000 pounds of supplies for the space station, is scheduled to arrive at the orbital platform on Wednesday, SpaceX said.
"This image from the right Mast Camera (Mastcam) of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows a scoop full of sand and dust lifted by the rover's first use of the scoop on its robotic arm. In the foreground, near the bottom of the image, a bright object is visible on the ground. The object might be a piece of rover hardware.
This image was taken during the mission's 61st Martian day, or sol (Oct. 7, 2012), the same sol as the first scooping. After examining Sol 61 imaging, the rover team decided to refrain from using the arm on Sol 62 (Oct. 8). Instead, the rover was instructed to acquire additional imaging of the bright object, on Sol 62, to aid the team in assessing possible impact, if any, to sampling activities.
For scale, the scoop is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) wide, 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) long."Source: NASA