Scientists Studied Undersea for Mission to Titan

A team of scientists has traveled to remote Laguna Negra in the central Andes of Chile to test technologies that could one day be used to explore the lakes of Titan. The Planetary Lake Lander (PLL) project is led by Principal Investigator Nathalie Cabrol of the NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute, and is funded by the NASA Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) program. This three-year field campaign will design and deploy a lake lander at Laguna Negra, which is a particularly vulnerable system where ice is melting at an accelerated rate. In addition to preparing for Titan, the study will also help answer questions about how deglaciation affects life in glacial lakes.

Now members of the PLL science team began their exploration of a second nearby lake, Laguna Lo Encañado (rough translation: lagoon in a canyon). Unlike Laguna Negra, Laguna Lo Encañado is opaque, sea-green in color, and lies at the end of a long valley containing significant wetlands.