National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Group Project

Propelled Instrumentation System for Titan Observational Learning

Andrew Dianetti, Max Holliday, GaRam Jun, Peter Knapp, Rebecca Navarro, Daniel Oliden, Raul Rios, Michael Romanko, Nomita Vazirani, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

The focus of this study is to design a mission to Titan, the largest of Saturn’s moons, and collect data on the atmospheric and topological features. An aerial vehicle was chosen as the interplanetary explorer in order to take advantage of the favorable flight conditions on the moon. The vehicle will be propelled by a methane breathing engine, requiring it to carry a supply of liquid oxygen. Data collection is made possible through the use of an on-board instrumentation suite and deployable probes that communicate with the plane. Other case studies were used as references and detailed analysis was performed on various sections of the design, with code written by the investigating group. The result of this research is a paper study showing the feasibility of such a mission. A plane was designed with a mission duration of 153 days, covering 34819 km and sending various data that characterizes the atmosphere and surface of Titan back to Earth. After conducting this initial feasibility study, recommended future work should involved a proof of concept as well as testing of the probes and various instrumentation.