The agency plans to launch the submarine in the next 20 years
In December of 2004, the probe ‘Huygens’ successfully separated from the spaceship ‘Cassini’ to begin its journey alone towards Titan, the largest moon of Jupiter. A month later, in January 2005, the probe reached the surface of the satellite and sent Earth the first photographs of Titan. Some images that suggested the presence of liquid thanks to what appeared to be drainage channels.
Since then, NASA has tried to discover more about this satellite, on which they have high hopes. Two years later, in 2007, the ‘Cassini’ spacecraft sent new images of Titan to Earth. Photographs that revealed that Saturn’s moon has seas, mountains, islands and bays and that its topography is similar to that of Earth.
However, the photographs showed seas that have nothing to do with what we see on Earth. Seas that are not blue or water, but that are highlighted by an intense black color due to its main components (methane and ethane). Therefore, Titan becomes the only place in the solar system where liquids have been found on the surface to date. In fact, a type of molecule necessary for life has also been found.
For that same reason, this satellite is considered today as one of the priorities in terms of space exploration. In fact, NASA has announced that they are considering the possibility of developing a kind of submarine to carry out scientific research under the surface of the Kraken Sea, considered as the largest liquid body of the satellite.
In order to determine how a submarine could work on Titan, researchers at Washington State University have recreated an ocean of the satellite in a laboratory, as they have revealed in a study published in the scientific journal Fluid Phase Equilibria
A test chamber in which the researchers included the liquid mixture of methane and ethane and subjected it to very cold temperatures to emulate the seas of Titan. Then they added a cylinder-shaped cartridge heater that would approximate the heat emitted by a submarine, to discover how it would react after accessing these oceans. In short, some tests to see how this submarine would manage in this type of seas.