Copyright © 1993 Martin Marietta Corp. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics with permission as AIAA 93-4741.
Published to the Marspapers archive with permission.
THE MARS AERIAL PLATFORM MISSION:
A GLOBAL RECONNAISSANCE OF THE RED PLANET USING SUPER-PRESSURE BALLOONS
Martin Marietta Astronautics Space Dynamics Lab
PO Box 179 Denver, CO 80201
Ben Clark, Jim Cantrell
Utah State University
Logan, Utah 84322-4140
The Mars Aerial Platform (MAP) mission is a conceptual design for a low-cost, Discovery class mission whose purpose would be to generate tens of thousands of very high resolution (20 cm/pixel) pictures of the Martian surface, map the global circulation of the Martian atmosphere, and examine the surface and sub-surface with ground penetrating radar, infrared spectroscopy, neutron spectroscopy, and other remote sensing techniques. The data would be acquired by instruments which are carried by balloons flying at a nominal altitude of about 7 km over the Martian surface. Because new balloon and micro-spacecraft technology is now available, the balloon probes could be quite long-lived, lasting hundreds or even thousands of days, producing an immense science harvest in the process. Together with the Mars Environmental Survey (MESUR) surface network science mission, MAP would revolutionize our knowledge of the Red Planet.