The gigantic solar-powered plane

Following the successful test flight of the Ingenuity helicopter, NASA has proposed a new fixed-wing aircraft concept. It is capable of flying over the Martian surface. This concept is known as Mars Aerial and Ground Intelligent Explorer (MAGGIE). It was recently announced under NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. This is the gigantic solar-powered plane that will go to the Red Planet.

The gigantic solar-powered plane will explore Mars.
The gigantic solar-powered plane will explore Mars.

Vertical takeoff

It is a compact fixed wing aircraft. It has ultra-high productive efficiency powered by solar energy. It allows you to fly in the Martian atmosphere. It can take off and land vertically thanks to its innovative whirlwind technology.

MAGGIE can fly at Mach 0.25 with a very high lift coefficient. It is almost 10 times higher than that of conventional subsonic aircraft. This is a remarkable feat, considering the low density of the Martian atmosphere. It has a range of 179 km with a fully charged battery for 7.6 Martian days at an altitude of 1,000 meters. Its total autonomy is estimated at an impressive 16,048 km during a Martian year.

MAGGIE's representative mission aims to carry out three investigations on Mars. They include the study of the origin of the Martian core from the weak magnetic fields found in the large impact basins. It will also identify the source of methane signals detected by Mars Science Laboratory's Tunable Laser Spectrometer in Gale Crater.

It would be the first mission of its kind to Mars.
It would be the first mission of its kind to Mars.

First atmospheric mission

The study of the MAGGIE system suggests that the concept could be viable. More research, design and verification in Martian atmospheric conditions is needed in Phase I. If successful, MAGGIE could perform the first global-scale atmospheric mission to Mars. It would open new possibilities to explore almost the entire Martian surface.

NASA says the giant solar-powered plane, MAGGIE, is the first to enable continuous exploration of this region of Mars. It would represent a significant advance in their exploration of the Red Planet.

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