Nasa has selected two concepts for a new robotic mission, one of which aims to explore potential landing sites on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

The concept is named Dragonfly, which is a drone-like rotorcraft that would use the environment on Titan to fly to a number of locations to sample materials and determine surface composition to examine Titan’s organic chemistry and habitability.

It also intends to monitor atmospheric and surface conditions as well as image landforms to evaluate geological processes and perform seismic studies.

The other concept, Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (CAESAR), aims to return a sample from 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet to determine its origin and history.

Selected from a set of 12 proposals, both the concepts are expected to be launched in a mission by the mid-2020s.

The proposals were submitted in April as part of Nasa’s New Frontiers programme.

Nasa Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said: “This is a giant leap forward in developing our next bold mission of science discovery.

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“These are tantalising investigations that seek to answer some of the biggest questions in our solar system today.”

Steve Squyres from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, US, will lead the CAESAR mission, which will be managed by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

“These are tantalising investigations that seek to answer some of the biggest questions in our solar system today.”

The Dragonfly mission’s lead investigator will be Elizabeth Turtle from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, while APL will provide project management for the mission.

Both the missions are set to receive funding by the end of next year to further develop and mature their concepts.

By 2019, Nasa plans to select one of these investigations to move towards the subsequent mission phases.

The selected mission will represent the fourth Nasa’s New Frontiers programme, which is a series of principal investigator-led planetary science investigations that require a development cost of around $850m.