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  AVIATR: proposed plane to study Saturn's Titan

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Author Topic:   AVIATR: proposed plane to study Saturn's Titan

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 01-06-2012 06:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
AVIATR (Aerial Vehicle for In-situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance), the plane built to soar above the clouds - on Saturn's mysterious moon Titan.
The Aviatr plane looks like the drones that fly over Afghanistan - but the $715 million vehicle is designed to fly over Saturn's largest moon, Titan, a body that has fascinated scientists because of its thick, cloudy atmosphere.

The Aviatr probe is built to take 3D photos of the surface, to help scientists build up a picture of the planet's geology.

At the end of its mission, the 120kg aircraft would dive down to the surface and attempt a landing on Titan's dunes.

Jason Barnes, a scientist at a University of Idaho designed the concept with a team of 30.

Aviatr did not make NASA's last round of funding - although the $715m price tag includes a delivery system to get it to Titan.

Barnes remains hopeful that interest in Aviatr is high, and that he can make the next round of funding.

He is insistent that a heavier-than-air craft is the best way to explore the thick atmosphere of Titan - and that a balloon would not do the job.

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