WASHINGTON: NASA is planning to send a submarine to Saturn's moon Titan in a bid to explore the depths of its largest ocean and search for signs of life.
Researchers proposed that the submarine would carry instruments to measure the chemical composition of the ocean, the currents and tides and the structure of the ocean floor.
The mast at the top would allow the submarine to communicate with Earth when it resurfaces.
Since it would not be able to communicate when underwater, its search for life is planned to be fully autonomous.
"There are really two big reasons why we want to go to Titan," Jason Hartwig, a NASA cryogenics engineer, said at the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Symposium in the US.
First, is "to determine if hydrocarbon based life is possible on Titan," Hartwig was quoted as saying by 'Inverse.com'.
Also, as the only moon in our solar system with clouds and an atmosphere, Titan is very similar to Earth - apart from the extreme cold and oceans of liquid methane.
The hidden in the methane sea may hold clues to how life evolved, and possibly even extraterrestrial microbes.
The mission is still in its conceptual stages.