Martian Airways Offer New Avenue For Exploration

By Mark Carreau .
Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report .

HOUSTON — After five decades of reconnaissance by flyby missions, orbiters, landers and rovers, Mars may be prime for scrutiny from the air, according to scientists and engineers gathered for a NASA-sponsored Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG) workshop organized by the space agency to forge an exploration strategy that achieves more with less. Proponents presented the three-day gathering with plans for unmanned hypersonic aircraft, slow-moving UAVs, ultra lights and balloons toting cameras, spectrographs, radar and other instruments to prepare the agency and its international partners for the eventual exploration of Mars by humans. “It’s going from the lunatic fringe to conventional wisdom,” says Larry Lemke, an Ames Research Center proponent who has studied aerial platforms on Mars since the early 1990s. “It has to compete it’s way into the program, justify that its costs are better than other ideas.” ...

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