The thought of peering at Martian dust and rocks under a microscope is unreal enough, but Earthlings might eventually get their hands on alien ooze from someplace even stranger than Mars.
Titan is a hostile place. It rains freezing methane and nitrogen, which pool into poisonous rivers and lakes and oceans, at least one of which is much deeper than we thought. NASA is even considering a space submarine to take the plunge into its murky depths. For now, the space agency wants to add onto its upcoming Dragonfly mission in 2027 and send the quadcopter over there with a self-refueling sample collector that will be able to trek all over the Jovian moon without making mission control anxious about it breaking down.
This is where all that methane on Titan is going to be like the ultimate gas station that never runs out.
For now, the concept is known as A Titan Sample Return Using In-Situ Propellant until it gets a cool name or acronym. It was part of the NASA Innovative…