Dragonfly is a planned spacecraft and NASA mission, which will send a robotic rotorcraft to the surface of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. It would be the first aircraft on Titan with it’s intention to make the first powered and fully controlled atmospheric flight on any moon.
It is meant to investigate the likelihood of life on barren land. The large hydrocarbon seas of methane are essentially the building blocks of life, so if there is any presence of thermal vents there could be a high chance of microbial life. The major objectives of this mission is to investigate the cryovolcanic activity
and the large oceans of methane and hydrocarbons. It carries a radioisotope thermoelectric generator in order to power up the spacecraft due to distance
from the sun and the thick atmosphere made of nitrogen, solar panels would be impractical.
Titan’s dense atmosphere and low gravity mean that the flight power for a given mass is a factor of about 40 times lower than on Earth. The atmosphere has 1.45 times the pressure and about four times the density of Earth’s, and local gravity (13.8% of Earth’s) will make it easier to fly.
Dragonfly is expected to launch in June 2027, and will take nine years to reach
Titan, arriving by 2036. The spacecraft will perform a gravitational assist flyby of Venus, and three passes by Earth to gain additional velocity.