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Artist's illustration of Dragonfly on Titan. Photo: NASA/JHU-APL

NASA's newly selected Dragonfly mission to Saturn’s largest moon Titan will mark a new way of exploring the solar system for the space agency.

The big picture: Dragonfly's unique design will allow scientists to get a full picture of Titan's various environments over the course of its mission. Instead of staying in one place like a lander or driving along the surface like a rover, Dragonfly will be able to fly through Titan's thick atmosphere, land and then take off again.

  • This kind of mission will allow scientists to piece together whether the moon could be a friendly place for life today or in the past.

Details: Once it arrives at the moon in 2034 after launch in 2026, Dragonfly will descend through the world's atmosphere underneath a parachute before flying free using its 4 rotors and heading to its first destination at Titan's equator.

  • The spacecraft will then land, study the area — which has a number of interesting dunes — and then eventually take off again, taking flights of up to 5 miles, according to NASA.
  • Over the course of its 2.7-year mission, Dragonfly is expected to fly up to 108 miles.
  • The spacecraft will be able to collect and analyze samples from Titan's surface and beam home photographs to Earth while gathering data about the world’s atmosphere during flights.
  • Eventually, mission controllers want the spacecraft to fly to the Selk impact crater where researchers think there could be evidence of all the components needed for life.

Yes, but: There are always risks when trying something new out in the solar system. NASA is planning to draw from technologies that are currently in use on Earth and Mars to make sure Dragonfly has its best chance at a successful mission.

Go deeper: NASA will send a drone to Saturn's largest moon

Go deeper

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.

Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.