NASA authorized the design and manufacture of the Dragonflya car-sized, nuclear-powered drone intended to explore the organic-rich sands of the moon Titan.

At the beginning of this year Dragonfly passed all success criteria of the preliminary design review and the launch preparation date has been revised to July 2028, details Europe Press.

Dragonfly, a unique NASA mission to the surface of another ocean world, is designed to explore the complex chemistry that is the precursor to life.

The vehicle will be built and operated by Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). will be equipped with cameras, sensors and samplers to explore areas of Titanthe large moon of Saturn, known to contain organic materials may have previously been mixed with liquid waternow frozen on the frozen surface.

As reported by APL, the Dragonfly team has made significant technical advances, including: an advance in testing Dragonfly’s guidance, navigation and control systems over California’s deserts that resemble Titan’s dunes; multiple flight system tests in NASA Langley Research Center’s unique wind tunnels; and run a fully instrumented lander model using atmospheric pressure and temperature simulations in APL’s new 1,000 cubic meter Titan Chamber. (JO)