LPL Colloquium: Dr. Elizabeth Turtle
Dragonfly: In Situ Exploration of Titan's Organic Chemistry and Habitability
Dr. Elizabeth Turtle
Principal Investigator - Dragonfly Mission
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Titan's abundant complex carbon-rich chemistry and opportunities for organic molecules to have interacted with liquid water at the surface at sites of cryovolcanic activity or impact melt make it an ideal destination to study prebiotic chemical processes and document the habitability of an extraterrestrial environment. The diversity of Titan's surface materials and environments drives a scientific need to sample a variety of locations, thus mobility is key for in situ measurements. Titan's dense atmosphere provides the means for long-range exploration by a vehicle with aerial mobility. NASA's Dragonfly New Frontiers mission is a rotorcraft lander designed to perform wide-ranging in situ investigation. Dragonfly will make multidisciplinary science measurements at dozens of diverse sites, covering over 150 km during a >2.5-year mission to characterize Titan's habitability and determine how far organic chemistry has progressed in environments that provide key ingredients for life.
Host: Dr. Alfred McEwen