By Gemma Wilson
COLUMBUS discovered the New World in a boat.
So it is perhaps fitting that Spanish scientists plan to take a boat on a space mission to Saturn.
The ship is to be used to sail across a large area of lakes, which inhabit the planet’s moon, known as Titan.
Scientists from Spain’s space programme have presented the bold project at the European Planetary Science Congress.
The boat – propelled by wheels and paddles – will explore Titan’s methane lakes and seas.
The probe, known as TALISE (Titan Lake In-situ Sampling Propelled Explorer), in particular will float over Ligeia Mare, near Titan’s North Pole.
The mission, lasting for up to a year, would also see TALISE explore the coast collecting invaluable information.
An earlier probe in 2005 discovered that Titan’s surface was made of soft, wet sand with a fragile crust on top.
Scientists are now working on putting together the initial TALISE construction so they can be ready to go when the future space mission starts seeking proposals.