Category Archives: Space

The Next Mission: NASA plans a mission for an Alien Sea!

During the year 2006, NASA’s Cassini was flying past Saturn’s moon, Titan. It had observed that the moon had seas of liquid of liquid ethane and methane on the moon’s -300 F surface. This is another step closer to outer space life. Some of these oily seas though, seemed to be bigger than Lake Superior, according to Cassini’s radar because the visibility was poor due to the thick atmosphere of Titan. Want to know more?

NASA is knowing planning a probe that will go and land on Titan’s so called ‘seas’ and act like a boat to float on the liquid methane and receive information on this moon. The probe to make history is called, the Titan Mare Explorer (TiME). This would be humankind first ever extraterrestrial mission ever!

On May, NASA funded a contract of $3 million dollars for development of the project. If the space agency gives a go ahead sign then TiME will launch on 2016 and float, and float until 2013 when it’s 800 million miles away from Titan’s north pole region where most liquid methane seas and lakes are the biggest.  Once TiME reaches the liquid ethane sea then, it will begin to take photos, analyze the weather, how deep the seas are, and analyze samples of the chemical structure of the seas. At the end of the project, then TiME will just wonder off on the sea and keep on floating until it reaches the other side of Saturn’s orbit where it is dark with no sunlight and radio communication will be cut (2035).

Methane clouds always fog up the glum Titan’s sky, and scientists believe that hydrocarbon raindrops are the reason why the sea’s have been replenished and how the landscape had been sculpted. We still believe that there won’t really be any life on the moon, Titan because, water is the main ingredient to life. If there’s no water, we believe there won’t be any real life structure. This is what we believe so far, but we never know if there really is any life with liquid ethane so this is the basic reason why the mission is being executed, to solve all these questions.

After 7 years of travelling through the black hollowness of space, including many bumps with gravity pulls in many planets, TiME will finally make it into the thick, foggy atmosphere of Titan, being protected from friction with it’s heat shield. After getting into the atmosphere for about 100 miles then, the parachute will be deployed. During the 2 hour drop, TiME will be taking photo’s recording data, and using it’s spectrometer to analyze the chemicals of the seas. After the drop into the ethane and methane sea, the capsule will bob up and record all sorts of information of take samples to analyze the chemical structure.

NASA can only fully fund one out of 3 space projects that are coming up: a Mars mission to research how the planet was formed, a comet hopper that will repeatedly land on a comet that is close to Earth, or a capsule that will record data on Saturn’s moon, Titan (this TiME project). Now which one will they choose?


Exclusive: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and now Jupiter. It’s the new Juno probe. The next space mission to Jupiter.

There was once the biggest project that NASA funded to get more information on Pluto. That’s old school. We are now looking at something else bigger. I mean literally it’s bigger in size and it’s bigger in Science.  Here’s the biggest challenge though. How to build a probe that can withstand one planet’s greatest threats. The Juno probe is the next step in science and engineering.

The Atlas V rocket carrying Juno was launched on August 5th, 2011 and is now looking forward in meeting our our friend, Jupiter. The mission has already been launched at Kennedy Space Center, and all the NASA officials are scrunching their eyes towards large computer screens showing a plethora of information, 24/7. Recording information on paper, phones, or anything that they appear to have in hand. Watching and watching every single day for a small sight of Jupiter.

Carefully engineered by NASA scientists. The Juno spacecraft was a project that had a budget of $1.1 billion. With careful scientist, resources were used properly and had a bill of $700 million. The Juno spacecraft was named after the Roman god Jupiter’s wife, so you can see the big connection. This space probe was launched with the Atlas V rocket that was designed in a special way to withstand the harsh radiation out in space. The probe is around 4,000 kg, including all the equipment that was added on top of the probe.

Now on the specifications on the project: The Juno probe is expected to reach into Jupiter’s orbit around July 4th, 2016, and in the beginning stages of the transport it will run on kerosene and liquid oxygen to give it some boosts. After that Juno will have to run on solar panels to get the lithium ion batteries charged for the big project. I guess that day we’ll have 2 celebrations, Independence Day and Jupiter Day. A wait that will take 4 years really isn’t that long compared to our Pluto project that will reach Pluto in 2015. After Juno reaches the orbit, Juno will have to stay at least 2,672 miles away from Jupiter to prevent being sucked in by it’s gravity immediately. Juno and the Atlas V rocket will have to stay in the outer orbit. 33 orbits around Jupiter and we just pray that the probe won’t be pulled in completely into Jupiter’s orbit and be crushed like a pancake. 1 more year of orbit. Why? Well each one of the orbits take 11 days. So, you can do the math. 33 x 11 = 363. That’s more than a year. The project is planned to conclude on October 2017 and the probe is planned to be sucked into the orbit of Jupiter and be destroyed or eliminated if you don’t want to say it that harsh.

Watch video:

The Juno probe has basic goals and some of them are to observe Jupiter’s  gravity field, magnetic field , and polar magnetosphere. Juno will also be looking at the physical features of the planet and is ready to get information in which if Jupiter has a rocky core and see how fast and other information on Jupiter’s wind. The increasing wind speeds and severe hurricanes of Jupiter make it interesting to know more on it and Juno has instruments to record that information too. Juno and the NASA scientists will be keeping a eye on Jupiter for any signs of water at all. Though one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa has evidence of having salt water, which is a step closer to evidence of extra-terrestrial life. After all these objectives that Juno has to complete, it will begin to get more into Jupiter’s orbit and then eventually get sucked into it’s orbit, and you know the basic process, it gets crushed like a pancake, again.

Atlas V, the rocket carrying Juno will make history as it approaches Jupiter which is just a next step in the mysteries and unknown of the deep, dark abyss of the space that is unknown.

Fun Fact: On board on Juno, there’s 3 LEGO mini figures that are taped to the probe to represent Galileo, Jupiter, and his wife Juno. These LEGO pieces were made out of aluminum to prevent radiation damage and the survive the outer space. There is also a plaque that gives dedication to Galileo on his discovery of the planet Jupiter. These 2 facts are pretty cool.