Thursday, October 07, 2010

NASA might explore Mars with robotic plane

The mainstay of Mars exploration, up to this point, has been rovers and satellites. NASA wants to change that paradigm with the addition of ultra hight speed robotic rocket planes. Where the rovers only explore a few miles the plane will cover 1,000 miles, in two hours of flight time. That's right, where the latest rover to Mars lasted years longer than anticipated, the rocket plane dubbed ARES (or the Aerial Regional-Scale Environmental Surveyor), total mission time will be 2 hours, at which time the fuel for the engine will run out. Stranger still is the fact that ARES will never "land" on Mars at all, during the mission. Dvice blog quotes the Popular Science article on the purposed mission:

Popular Science:
Enveloped in an aeroshell similar to the ones that deployed the rovers, ARES would detach from a carrier craft about 12 hours from the Martian surface. At about 20 miles up, the aeroshell would open, ARES would extend its folded wings and tail, and the rockets would fire.....
This maneuver simplifies launching the plane. Instead of landing on the surface and taking off again the plane will simply be deployed high in the Mars atmosphere.

But ARES?! why is NASA so stuck on this label?!

Wikipedia article


Anonymous said...

"But ARES?! why is NASA so stuck on this label?!"

Ares = Mars, the god of war.

Beam Me Up said...

hey anon
Oh I know that, but to use it AGAIN after one fiasco just leads to more questions than anything. To me it shows lack of imagination