Aurora to Study Balloon Launches From the Surface of Mars
Balloon-based Mars exploration has the capability to cover a larger portion of the Martian surface than is accessible via a rover and to provide better resolution than is available from satellites. Balloons could be used to measure atmospheric data at different altitudes and locations on Mars. According to the project's manager, George Kiwada, "A major challenge to ground deployment is the possibility of the envelope being damaged by winds, surrounding rocks, or parts of the associated lander. Our Shielded Mars Balloon Launcher (SMBL) concept addresses this challenge by using inflatable structures to provide a safe environment for balloon inflation and deployment."
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The SMBL contract builds on Aurora's previous work with NASA on the development of a Mars airplane. In that project, Aurora became familiar with the challenges of aerial vehicle operations in the Martian atmosphere.
Source : Aurora Flight Sciences Corp.