NASA, the US space agency, has announced plans to create a new mobility platform for Mars exploration that will travel the Red Planet using solar energy. The Mars Aerial and Ground Intelligent Explorer (MAGGIE) is a small, solar-powered fixed-wing aircraft designed to fly in the Martian atmosphere. It has an extremely high productivity efficiency. With the use of CoFlow Jet (CFJ) and superior deflected slipstream technology, it will be able to perform vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL).
"MAGGIE has the potential to be the first global-scale atmospheric mission on Mars, revolutionizing our ability to explore nearly the whole surface of the planet." NASA released a statement stating that "it is the first concept to enable ongoing exploration of this region of Mars and would provide a substantial leap in capability for NASA's exploration of the Red Planet."
NASA's Mars Perseverance rover, which landed on the Red Planet in February 2021 with the Ingenuity helicopter connected to its belly, provided ample evidence of the appeal of aerial operations on the planet.
With its 72nd flights on the Red Planet, the Ingenuity helicopter exceeded all expectations, having been given only five test flights to demonstrate its "pioneering" technology.
"The audience would find MAGGIE to be equally captivating due to its daring and the range of surroundings it could investigate, analyse, and portray. Additionally, the technique might improve VTOL aircraft on Earth and other worlds, according to NASA.
Compared to traditional subsonic aircraft, the aircraft will be able to overcome the low density of the Martian atmosphere with a magnitude higher.
With a fully charged battery, MAGGIE can go 179 kilometers at an altitude of 1,000 m in 7.6 sol. MAGGIE has a total range of 16,048 km in a Martian year. Three atmospheric and geophysical investigations would be carried out by the MAGGIE representative mission.
These include a regional investigation of the source of methane signals detected by the Tunable Laser Spectrometer on the Mars Science Laboratory in Gale crater, a study of the origin and timing of the Martian core dynamo from the weak magnetic fields found in the large impact basins, and a high-resolution mapping of subsurface water ice in the mid-latitudes where it has been observed from orbit. According to NASA, the basic MAGGIE system analysis suggests that the concept seems possible, but more research, design, and verification under Martian atmospheric conditions are required in Phase I.