Hang gliders for MARSDROP Mission: Unusual but possible and practical, too, study

Scientists reveal a newly created small fact-finding instrument that can be fastened to gliders and may then enable small robots to investigate sites on Mars that’s never been gone before .

Two landers will then be sent on a larger spacecraft to Mars on this project called Marsdrop, where they would unfasten itself and glide the small probes called microprobes with a controlable parawing to land on Mars.

The unique idea was conceptualized by Rebecca Williams , a senior scientist with the Planetary Science Institute . She had worked with Matthew Eby from the Aerospace Corporation and a group of engineers headed by Robert Staehle at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Based on a project description , a model of the re-entry vehicle from Marsdrop was already previously been tested. Scientist were able to control the microprobes up to tens of meters of a chosen location for landing using a terrain-relative vehicle . The size of the probes and its accurate landing makes it easier for them to investigate areas of Mars that are impossible to reach with large land rovers like the NASA’s Curiosity. It would cover areas like Martian canyons, fresh impact-crater sites, volcanic regions and glaciers.

“What is particularly exciting about this new approach is the possibility of landing in new locations like the canyons in Valles Marineris or at modern geologically active sites such as south-polar geysers or locations with inferred seasonal release of surface water flows,” stated Williams .HYPERLINK http://www.space.com/20446-valles-marineris.html

A set of instruments needed for the study will then be brought by the microprobes such as cameras, weather sensors , seismometers and microscopes that can analyze minerals and inorganic substances , so that it can collect important datas about Mars and determine if humans could go there as well .”MARSDROP can help lay the groundwork for future human exploration of Mars by characterizing biohazards like Martian dust and assessing the availability of key resources, such as water from which oxygen and rocket propellant can be made,” Williams said.

Another advantage of the Marsdrop mission creation is its low expenditure which is only an additional 5% of the current Mars mission budget.

“`Mission is a cost-effective way to double or triple the number of Mars landers for each mission opportunity,” According to the mission description written by PSI representatives.

The Marsdrop technology will be used on other planets if its mission will make it.

Image: http://gallagher-photo.com/wp-content

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/0519/Hang-gliders-on-Mars-So-crazy-it-just-might-work

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