This week NASA has narrowed down its list of potential next missions to a pair and both sound awesome. Exactly which of the mission will be undertaken we won’t know until 2019, but we do know the two potentials. One of the missions would send a probe out to meet comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The other mission would focus on Saturn’s moon Titan. The comet mission is called the Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return or CAESAR. This mission would retrieve about 100 grams of material from the surface of the comet and then bring the sample back to Earth for testing.
The mission to Saturn’s moon Titan is the cooler in my book and is called Dragonfly. This mission would have a rover that would take measurements on the ground and would fly to different points on the moon’s surface for further testing.
That flying portion could see the probe move hundreds of miles away from its initial landing site over its 2-year mission. It took the Mars Rover Opportunity 13 years to travel 27 miles. Neither of these missions would be totally new, the 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet was visited by the European Rosetta and Philae lander back in 2014.
Titan was visited by the Huygens prove back in 2005 as part of the Cassini mission. The Titan mission is especially interesting to many because that moon is thought to have the potential ingredients for life.