New Aircraft Being Developed for Mars Flight

NASA is actively investigating the possibility of flying a plane above Mars’ surface, thanks to its Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. This program aims to explore groundbreaking ideas that could revolutionize NASA’s missions, with one of the selected concepts being MAGGIE, also known as the Mars Aerial and Ground Intelligent Explorer.

MAGGIE is a conceptual technology that has secured funding from NASA. The project is spearheaded by Coflow Jet, with a recent video released by NASA showcasing how this extraterrestrial aircraft would be landed on Mars and deployed. The unique design of MAGGIE allows it to take off vertically, similar to a helicopter. This design is necessary due to the extremely thin atmosphere on Mars, which is only about 1% of Earth’s density. To adequately generate lift for flight, MAGGIE’s rotor blades must spin at a much faster speed than those of a typical airplane on Earth. Additionally, MAGGIE is designed to land vertically as well.

Zha, the president and founder of Coflow Jet, highlighted the versatility of MAGGIE by stating, “You can land any place you feel is interesting.” The main purpose of deploying a plane on Mars is to explore the Martian landscape rapidly and efficiently. This could involve scouting for scientific prospects, identifying potential frozen water sources, and mapping out terrain. Notably, MAGGIE has been designed to be foldable so that it can fit inside NASA’s rocket for transportation. Once unfolded, MAGGIE boasts an impressive 26-foot wingspan.

Overall, the idea of flying a plane on Mars presents exciting possibilities for future exploration missions. NASA’s continued investment in innovative concepts like MAGGIE demonstrates the agency’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of space exploration.


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