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a picture of the
sojourner rover

Going to Mars is an exciting scientific venture! Before we send a manned expedition to Mars we need to know even more about its atmosphere and its surface features. So far, through the use of previous probes such as Mariner, Viking, and the ground rover Sojourner deployed by the Mars Pathfinder Mission, to name just a few, we have been able to learn more about Mars from its upper atmosphere down into its deepest canyons. To get a closer a look at Mars scientist could use an aerial perspective, that is, the view from an airplane. This airplane need not be a full-scale, human-piloted model. It can be a small-scale, robotic model that holds a scientific cargo capable of gathering the information needed about Mars' atmosphere and surface.

Preliminary design work has already been accomplished by NASA researchers on what such a model would like, how it should perform and what kind of scientific cargo it would need to carry. For example, for an aircraft to fly within the atmosphere of Mars it will need to be different from the types of airplanes designed for flight on Earth. That's because the atmosphere on Mars is very different from that on Earth! Also, to hold the cargo necessary to perform the scientific experiments, the payload will need to be precisely packed and placed with consideration given to the aircraft's center of gravity.

Join us here at this site to learn more about Mars, its gravity and its atmosphere. Explore the differences between atmospheric and non-atmospheric flight. Learn also about the types of scientific instruments that would be used for such a data-gathering mission. Review all the information given at this web site and through its links when considering a design for a Mars airplane. Then, apply your knowledge to design an aircraft that will fly on Mars.

[A general discussion of Mars missions and history can be found at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov ]

NASA Videos of Mars Airplane Concepts

NASA Drawings of Mars Airplane Concepts

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