Conquest of space: France embarks with NASA towards Titan

Dragonfly, a $1 billion US drone, will carry a key Cnes-funded instrument to Saturn’s moon in 2027.

After twenty years of robotic exploration of Mars, NASA now sees further. In 2027, the American space agency will attack Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. And this time, it will not be with a rover, but a 450 kg drone-helicopter called Dragonfly (dragonfly), the cost of which is estimated at 1 billion dollars. And France will have the privilege of being part of this extraordinary journey thanks to the signing at the start of the year of a cooperation agreement between the French (Cnes) and American (Nasa) space agencies.

“We are very proud, because it was the Americans who came to look for French laboratories to produce one of the key instruments of the mission. It was not us who knocked on their door to be able to participate,” says Gabriel Pont, Cnes manager of the French contribution to Dragonfly. This is a chemical analyzer that will be used to identify the molecules present on the surface of Titan.

Very low gravity

For French scientists…

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