Science/Tech

NASA Targets Neptune Moon Triton In Search For Alien Life

NASA has proposed a new mission to find alien life within the solar system. The space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory wants to send a new spacecraft to explore Neptune's largest moon, Triton, to find spots that may have been hosting alien life. 

Triton was first identified in 1846, and it was described as the "ocean world,” according to Futurism. Since then, many experts have been speculating that the moon could potentially support extraterrestrial life due to the amount water hiding under its surface.

We all know water is one of the key ingredients for life, which might allow Neptune's largest natural satellite to harbor tiny extraterrestrial microbes. To confirm the speculations, NASA said at the recent Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas that it wants to explore the moon with a new spacecraft, called Trident.

The spacecraft will fly over Triton, take photographs and study its atmosphere and chemical makeup for signs of an underground ocean. NASA said if the mission could confirm the presence of water, the space agency will mark the moon as a key target for future alien-focused missions, the Sun reported

Officials from the agency also noted that the Trident mission would also open new doors to explore the Kuiper belt.

"Triton shows tantalizing hints at being active and having an ocean," NASA scientist Amanda Hendrix told the New York Times. "It is a three-for-one target, because you can visit the Neptune system, visit this interesting ocean world and also visit a Kuiper belt object without having to go all the way out there."

Triton: The First Mission

Scientists first explored Neptune's moon in 1989 with the Voyager 2 probe that captured the only images of the celestial object. During the mission, geysers were found releasing nitrogen gas from the surface of Triton. 

To date, Triton is considered the coldest known object in the solar system, with surface temperatures of -235°C. 

The Next Flyby

NASA’s plan to send another spacecraft to analyze the moon will be part of the agency’s Discovery program. Officials expect the Trident mission to cost less than $500 million.

Aside from Triton, the spacecraft will also visit Jupiter's moon, Io, and Venus.

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