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Space Boat: A Nautical Mission to an Alien Sea

In 2006, while flying by Saturn’s moon Titan, the radar on NASA’s Cassini orbiter discovered seas of liquid ethane and methane on the moon’s –300ºF surface, the only bodies of liquid we know of that exist anywhere but on Earth. Some of the oily seas appeared on Cassini’s radar to be larger than Lake Superior, but visibility was poor because Titan’s atmosphere is thick and hazy. Now NASA is considering sending a probe called the Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) to splash down on one of Titan’s seas for a closer look. The mission would be humankind’s first extraterrestrial nautical expedition.

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