Event Time: Thursday, September 5, 2019 | 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Location:
Hennings 201
Add to Calendar 2019-09-05T16:00:00 2019-09-05T17:00:00 Dragonfly: NASA's Rotorcraft Lander mission to Saturn's Moon Titan Event Information: NASA recently selected the Dragonfly quadcopter, on which I serve as Deputy Principal Investigator, as the fourth mission in its New Frontiers program of planetary missions.  Dragonfly will land on the surface of Saturn's hazy moon Titan to explore prebiotic chemistry, to evaluate its habitability, and look for chemical biosignatures.  Titan is one of just 4 planetary bodies that has both a thick atmosphere and a solid surface - Venus, Earth, and Mars are the others.  Among these, only Titan and Earth have active hydrological cycles with clouds, rain, and surface lakes and seas, though Titan's contain methane and ethane instead of water.  I will discuss the present state of our knowledge about Titan's geology, chemistry, and meteorology, as well as discuss the Dragonfly mission and how it will answer outstanding questions.  (1) How far has prebiotic chemistry progressed toward life?  (2) What potentially habitable biomes might Titan posess, both with respect to water-based life and methane/ethane-based "life, but not as we know it"?  And (3) is there chemical evidence for past or extant life on Titan? Event Location: Hennings 201