The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Tina Fisher Cunningham
Fisher Forde Media 

Will this be the first aircraft on Mars?

The Forde Files No. 163

 

Tina Fisher Cunningham

Tina Fisher Cunningham with drone.

It's not a scaled down model or a toy – Tina Cunningham holds a 32-inch "winglet" that engineers at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base hope will be the first aircraft to fly on Mars. According to engineer/pilot Robert "Red" Jensen (seen in the background of the Armstrong model shop), the instrument-carrying flying wings will be folded to fit in 4x4x12-inch spaces and used as ballast on a Mars rover heat shield before being deployed at 12,000 feet over the surface of Mars. A swarm of winglets will fly 30 to 40 miles at a speed of 300-400 knots, providing vital information about Mars, which has no reliable magnetic poles or GPS to help explorers. They will glide toward a common area, where they will crash, Jensen said. To test them here on earth, the winglets, named PRANDTL-m(ars), will be dropped from a weather balloon at the altitude of around 100,000 feet to simulate the Martian atmosphere.

Tina Fisher Cunningham

Robert "Red" Jensen

 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018