Meet The Nuclear-Powered Self-Driving Drone NASA Is Sending To A Moon Of Saturn

Meet The Nuclear-Powered Self-Driving Drone NASA Is Sending To A Moon Of Saturn

by Geoff Brumfiel, NPR

On the face of it, NASA’s newest probe sounds incredible. Known as Dragonfly, it is a dual-rotor quadcopter (technically an octocopter, even more technically an X8 octocopter); it’s roughly the size of a compact car; it’s completely autonomous; it’s nuclear powered; and it will hover above the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.

But Elizabeth Turtle, the mission’s principle investigator at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, insists that this is actually a pretty tame space probe, as these things go.

“There’s not a lot of new technology,” she says.

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