Many decades later, NASA is putting The Beatles to shame with their take on a super trippy submarine.

Researchers from Washington State University are working with the space agency to develop a vehicle that could explore Titan’s mysterious methane and ethane oceans, which can drop as low as -300 degrees Fahrenheit (about -184 degrees Celsius). It’s a seriously ambitious effort, but the team is hoping to send the submarine to Titan at some time in the next 20 years. All things considered, that’s not that far away.

Join our private Dope Space Pics group on Facebook for more strange wonder.

“Titan is the only known celestial body in our solar system other than Earth with stable liquid seas on its surface,” the team writes in a paper about their research, which has been published in the journal Fluid Phase Equilibria. “The thermodynamic properties of Titan’s seas have not been well characterized. This work investigates the solubility of nitrogen in varying liquid methane-ethane compositions and the effects of dissolved nitrogen on the density of the sea.”

Titan, Saturn's large adult son

Researchers at WSU’s cryogenic lab created a test chamber with super cold liquid to simulate the extreme conditions in Titan’s seas. The team then had to come up with an inventive solution for filming what was going on in their creation, since the combination of extremely low temperature and high pressure made recording nearly impossible.

Thankfully, by using a borescope — an optical tool used to investigate hard-to-reach places in home repairs — the team was able to record the simulated “rain” inside the test chamber.

While there’s clearly a lot more work to be done in order to develop something that could survive the harsh conditions on Titan, this is a significant first step. There’s so much to learn about the unusual moon, which is kind of like Earth on a bad acid trip. Like our planet, it has a water cycle, except the water is actually just methane, and that’s just one example of the frightening similarities.

We wish the intrepid researchers and their (eventual) space submarine all the best. Please launch soon.

Photos via NASA

Mars is kind of a bummer: That place is a hotbed of dynamic dust storms that got so big in recent months that they encircled the entire planet. Those conditions, sure to be a challenge for future Mars colonies, are a buzzkill for NASA’s Opportunity Rover right now: A dust storm forced the droid, which has been roaming Mars for 14 years, to shut down in June, and it’s still turned off today.

Google celebrated the life of Mary G. Ross on Thursday, with a commemorative doodle on what would have been the pioneer aerospace scientist’s 110th birthday. Ross, a Native American female engineer, helped develop some of the first concepts for flyby missions past Venus and Mars, paving the way for humans to explore the stars and visit other planets. Ross proudly described some of her most important moments this way: “I was the pencil pusher, doing a lot of research. My state of the art tools were a slide rule and a Frieden computer.”

The first four NASA astronauts set to enter space in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule met the team behind the pod at the factory on Monday. The meeting comes ahead of the first launch, an historic moment for travel as the first American astronauts on board a commercial spacecraft.

The four men visited the company’s Hawthorne, California headquarters in a visit captured on the SpaceX Instagram page. The visit comes less than two weeks after NASA announced the first crew members for the SpaceX capsule and Boeing’s competing CST-100 Starliner pod. The missions will ferry people to and from the International Space Station after the agency’s contract expires with the Russian Soyuz craft in November 2019. As well as the first American commercial astronauts, the launches will mark the first time an American spacecraft has launched from U.S. soil since the shuttle program was retired in 2011.

Thank heavens the Parker Solar Probe isn’t made of wax, because its about to fly closer to the sun than even Icarus dared. On August 11, NASA is launching the probe into a part of the sun’s outer atmosphere known as the Alfvén point. If it manages to get past it, we can officially say a human-made object has touched the sun.