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TSSM
Titan Saturn System Mission Mission to Saturn

Mission Type: Aerial, Lander, Orbiter
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 551
Spacecraft Mass: 6187 kg
Spacecraft Instruments:
Orbiter:
1) HiRIS: 1-6 Micron Hi-Resolution Imager and Spectrometer
2) TiPRA: Penetrating Radar and Altimeter
3) PMS: Polymer Mass Spectrometer
4) SMS: Sub-mm Sounder
5) TIRS: Thermal Infrared Spectrometer
6) MAPP: Magnetometer and Plasma Pkg.
7) RSA: Radio Science Augmented by Accelerometry
Balloon:
1) BIS: Balloon Imaging Spectrometer
2) VISTA-B: Imaging System for Balloon
3) ASI/MET: Atmospheric Structure Inst./Meteorology Pkg.
4) TEEP-B: Titan Electric Environment Pkg.
5) TRS: Titan Radar Sounder
6) MRST: Radio Science using S/C Comm. System
7) MAG: Magnetometer
8) TLCA: Titan Montgolfiere Aerosol Analyzer
Lander:
1) TLCA: Titan Lander Chemical Analyzer
2) VISTA-L: Titan Probe Imager (+ lamp)
3) ASI/MET: Atmospheric Structure Inst./Meteorological Pkg. + Electrical Properties
4) SPP: Surface Properties Package + Acoustic Sensor Pkg. with Acoustics and Magnetometer
5) LRST: Radio Science using S/C Telecom System
Spacecraft Power: Five radisotope power systems (either advanced Stirling radioisotope generators or multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generators). About 540 watts at end of mission.
Antenna Diameter: 4 m high gain antenna
Ka-Band Data Rate: 35 Watt RF
Principal Investigator: John Elliott, Flight System Lead, Kim Reh, Study Lead
References:
Titan Saturn System Mission page, http://opfm.jpl.nasa.gov/titanriskreduction/

NASA Mission Prioritization Announcement, 18 Feb. 2009, http://solarsystem.jpl.nasa.gov/news/display.cfm?News_ID=31175


NASA's Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM) is a Flagship Mission concept that would explore Titan's Earth-like system, examine the moon's organics, and explore the magnetosphere of Saturn and its connection to Titan and Enceladus in order to gain a better understanding of Titan's origin and evolution.

On its way to Titan, the orbiter would fly through the plumes of Enceladus to analyze plume samples and image the subsurface features of the tiger stripes in the south polar region.

The study of Titan may help us to understand how our own planet Earth formed and will evolve. Because Titan is a complex world, it appears to be more like the Earth than any other body in our solar system. Information from the TSSM orbiter would clarify how the Titan system (geology, hydrology, meteorology, climatology and atmospherics) is both similar and different from the Earth and other solar system bodies.

Questions that seek to be answered with TSSM include:

  • How does Titan function as a system?
  • How are the similarities and differences with Earth, and other solar system bodies, a result of the interplay of the geology, hydrology, meteorology and aeronomy present in the Titan system?

TSSM consists of three elements -- the NASA orbiter, and European Space Agency (ESA) in situ elements, lake lander and montgolfiere. In addition to providing the launch vehicle, NASA would build the orbiter, which will be powered by a radioisotope power system, as well as a Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) stage. ESA would provide the montgolfiere hot-air balloon and lake lander. The montgolfiere would be released just following Saturn orbit insertion on the first Titan flyby, and the lake lander on the second Titan flyby.

The 4-year prime mission would include a two-year Saturn tour, a 2-month Titan aero-sampling phase and a 20-month Titan orbit phase.


Key Dates
This is a mission concept. No launch date has been determined yet.
Fast Facts
TSSM Facts Titan is the biggest of the known moons orbiting Saturn.

Titan is the only known moon with a fully developed Earth-like atmosphere that consists of more than just trace gases.

Evidence gathered by Cassini and the Huygens probe suggests that the geology of Titan may be a close match to Earth -- before life appeared on our home planet.
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Last Updated: 14 Dec 2010