Mars plane MAGGIE received first funding from NASA

Artistic depiction of the Martian aircraft MAGGIE (Mars Aerial and Ground Global Intelligent Explorer). Source: Ge-Cheng Zha

The MAGGIE aircraft will fly through the Martian skies and explore the upper layers of the Martian atmosphere. An interesting concept has emerged for an aircraft that can detect the presence of water in the upper atmosphere of Mars. The new vehicle, called MAGGIE (Mars Aero-Ground Intelligent Explorer), has received initial funding from NASA and is on track to complete its mission.

There is currently no timetable for MAGGIE’s maiden flight, but the Ingenuity helicopter’s experience has already proven useful in the search for ancient water and life on Mars in support of its partner rover, Perseverance. I am. Given Ingenuity’s progress so far, MAGGIE is expected to follow its lead in the future and begin exploring the Martian atmosphere. MAGGIE is a solar airplane with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. It can fly up to 179 kilometers on a single charge, giving it a range of about 16,048 kilometers in a Martian year, which is about 24 months by Earth standards. At his 1,000 meter altitude above the surface of Mars, McGee will focus on his three studies. The discovery of water, a better understanding of the origins of Mars’ weak magnetic field, and the search for signals of evasive methane. Source, could be a sign of life.

However, the MAGGIE concept is still in the early stages of development, and Ge-Cheng Zha, principal investigator at Coflow Jet, LLC, notes that further research is needed “under Martian atmospheric conditions.” Situation on Earth. NASA’s Phase 1 MAGIC funding will enable further study of the aircraft concept, which could become an important tool for future large-scale Mars exploration, Zar said. “MAGGIE has the potential to revolutionize our ability to explore virtually the entire surface of Mars,” he said, highlighting its ability to capture images in a variety of environments. Funding for his MAGGIE by NIAC does not specify an exact date for the first flight, but with the advent of other vehicles in development, we can hope for the possibility of sending them to Mars in the near future. For example, a Mars sample return mission planned for the 2030s could use two interceptor helicopters if the Perseverance rover itself is unable to deliver samples to the return vehicle.