Jul 19, 2019 | Updated: 09:53 AM EDT

VIDEO—How Antiquated Technology May Reveal the Secrets of Titan’s Seas

Feb 15, 2015 04:55 PM EST

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Titan Submersible
(Photo : NASA)

Beneath the glaring surface and choppy waves, many secrets are hidden here in the oceans of Earth. The vast depths hide species unknown to men, lost treasures at the seafloor and perhaps even a cryptid or two. And while terrestrial studies of planets may have been interesting in the 20th century, space agencies are looking to aquatic surveys which may one day reveal the origins of life even farther out in space.

If oceans of Earth hold many secrets, how many could researchers find, if for example they were to explore the seas of Titan?

Well, now researchers believe that the next step may be to send a submersible vehicle to Titan to find out.

In a sneak peak of a plausible mission to Titan, Saturn's largest moon and the second largest natural satellite in our solar system, NASA revealed that they may turn to some antiquated technology to fulfill the task of swimming through the methane and ethane lakes on the cold surface. Showcasing a robotic submersible, much akin to a submarine, NASA says that while several of the seas have been studied by their Cassini spacecraft during flybys, there is a limitation to depths at which their current radar technology can penetrate. And in order to gain a full understanding of the seas and lakes, they may have to one day dive in.

Revealing their plans at this year's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Symposium, NASA's Glenn COMPASS Team and researchers with the Applied Research Lab discussed the Titan submarine concept and even posited a possible mission to Titan's largest sea-Kracken Mare.

Should the space agency, one day, seek to explore the floor of the vast seas of Titan researchers say that the autonomous submarine would be designed to make the 1,250 mile voyage in a mere 90 days, though it would have to surface often to transmit data back to Earth. But it won't be an easy feat.

Is it really worth the challenge? NASA researchers believe so, and astronomers agree. With so many similarities to Earth in terms of cycling systems, elemental composition and terrestrial geography, Titan may one day reveal an interesting mixture of molecules necessary for life.

Check out plans for the new mission developed by NASA's Glenn Research Center, and see how the submarine would find its way about Titan in the new video. While the animated mission may seem far from reality, the possible discoveries on Titan the nature of the project are all too real. And one day soon, astronomers with the space agency hope to dive in.

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