This Albatross-Like Plane Could One Day Fly Over Mars

The NASA Ingenuity chopper made history on April 19, 2021 when it took flight for the first time from the surface of Mars.

Engineers were inspired to create larger, more robust planes to soar over the Martian landscape as a result of the historic 39-second flight

which opened the door for a completely new method of exploring other worlds.

A group of engineers from the University of Arizona have created a motorless sailplane that might one day fly on Mars and rely solely on the wind to propel it for days at a time.

An early sailplane prototype just finished a brief test flight while attached to a balloon

Image Credit:gizmodo

According to a news statement, the team is planning more tests of the device at greater elevations by the end of the summer.

The painfully thin atmosphere on Mars makes flying a plane considerably more difficult than it is on Earth. 

Because Martian air is only 1% as dense as Earth's atmosphere, it is challenging for aeroplanes to maintain their altitude

Two carbon fibre rotors on NASA's Ingenuity, which weighs only 2 kg and can fly faster than any helicopter on Earth, provide liftoff.

 However, Ingenuity has drawbacks, such as solar powered panels that can only power it for a single 90-second flight

 On the other hand, the sailplane design concept will enable the aircraft to soar for extended periods of time and in a manner similar to an albatross'

Image Credit:smithsonianmagazine

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