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A view of Titan as seen by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Photo: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

NASA is going to Saturn's largest moon, Titan. The space agency has selected the Dragonfly mission to learn more about the mysterious world from close range.

Why it matters: Studying Titan for an extended period of time from the world's surface will reveal aspects of the moon that we've only gotten a tantalizing glimpse of in the past. Scientists think that Titan could help unlock the mysteries of how life evolved.

Dragonfly is a drone designed to fly above Titan's surface, dropping down to investigate parts of the moon including its dunes and craters.

  • NASA is planning to launch the spacecraft in 2026, with an arrival at Titan in 2034.
“The instruments on board will help us investigate organic chemistry, evaluate habitability and search for chemical signatures of past or even present life,”
— NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said during the announcement

The big picture: Titan is alien in the most compelling sense. The moon has a thick atmosphere and bodies of liquid ethane and methane on its surface.

The backdrop: This won't be humanity's first visit to Titan. The Huygens lander also touched down on the moon's surface, giving scientists on Earth a brief look.

  • Huygens studied Titan's atmosphere during its descent to the surface, but the lander only survived for a little over an hour after touchdown, beaming home photos after landing.
  • Dragonfly is part of the agency's New Frontiers program that was also responsible for the New Horizon's mission to Pluto, Juno's mission to Jupiter and the OSIRIS-REx mission to an asteroid.

Go deeper

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.