NASA Makes Big Astrobiology Mission Announcement Without Saying "Astrobiology"

NASA's Dragonfly Will Fly Around Titan Looking for Origins, Signs of Life, NASA

"NASA has announced that our next destination in the solar system is the unique, richly organic world Titan. Advancing our search for the building blocks of life, the Dragonfly mission will fly multiple sorties to sample and examine sites around Saturn's icy moon. ... Titan is an analog to the very early Earth, and can provide clues to how life may have arisen on our planet. During its 2.7-year baseline mission, Dragonfly will explore diverse environments from organic dunes to the floor of an impact crater where liquid water and complex organic materials key to life once existed together for possibly tens of thousands of years. Its instruments will study how far prebiotic chemistry may have progressed. They also will investigate the moon's atmospheric and surface properties and its subsurface ocean and liquid reservoirs. Additionally, instruments will search for chemical evidence of past or extant life. ... "With the Dragonfly mission, NASA will once again do what no one else can do," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "Visiting this mysterious ocean world could revolutionize what we know about life in the universe. ... evidence of past liquid water, organics - the complex molecules that contain carbon, combined with hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen - and energy, which together make up the recipe for life. ... Dragonfly will visit a world filled ith a wide variety of organic compounds, which are the building blocks of life and could teach us about the origin of life itself." ... The moon's weather and surface processes have combined complex organics, energy, and water similar to those that may have sparked life on our planet. ... and exploring a near-Earth asteroid for the building blocks of life," said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division."

Keith's note: Look at these multiple references to one of the prime tasks of Dragonfly - to search for organic compounds on Titan due to their relevance to the possibility of life. Once again, for those of you who have not been paying attention: NASA has an astrobiology program and this is what it does. I was in the auditorium at the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) in Seattle when this was announced. A loud cheer went up (see video below). With all this blatant relevance to topics key to Astrobiology and broad enthusiasm for the mission from the Astrobiology community you'd think that NASA SMD and NASA PAO would use the word "astrobiology" at least once or link to the NASA Astrobiology program webpage. Guess again. Alana Johnson from PAO is listed as a contact on this press release. She attended the entire Astrobiology Science Conference. Either she was not paying attention to the topic of the meeting or she had no influence on the wording of this press release.

NASA complains that people do not understand the scope and breadth of its programs. Small wonder when NASA so effectively and deliberately ignores some of its own programs the way that it ignores "Astrobiology".

- NASA Leads The World In Astrobiology. Wow, Who Knew?, earlier post
- NASA Can't Figure Out What Astrobiology Is - Or Who Does It, earlier post
- NASA Is Incapable Of Explaining How It Does Astrobiology, earlier post
- NASA's Astrobiology Program Works Hard To Ignore Itself, earlier post
- NASA's Astrobiology Programs Ignore One Another, earlier post
- NASA Leads In Astrobiology. It Needs To Act That Way., earlier post

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 28, 2019 10:51 PM.

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