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Engineers design motorless sailplanes for Mars exploration


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Eight active spacecraft, including three operated by NASA, orbit Mars, gathering imagery of the planet's surface at a resolution of about 1 foot per pixel. Three rovers traverse the ground, mapping small areas of the planet with greater precision. But what lies in the hundreds of kilometers between the rovers and the orbiters—including atmospheric climate processes and geological features like volcanoes and canyons—is often of most interest to planetary scientists.

Kling is partnering with a team of University of Arizona engineers that aims to fill this data gap by designing a motorless sailplane that can soar over the Martian surface for days at a time, using only wind energy for propulsion. Equipped with flight, temperature and gas sensors as well as cameras, the sailplanes would weigh only 11 pounds each. 

https://techxplore.com/news/2022-07-motorless-sailplanes-mars-exploration.html

The team details its proposal in a paper published in the journal Aerospace.

https://www.mdpi.com/2226-4310/9/6/306

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