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TMBM: Tethered Micro-Balloons on MarsThe use of balloons/aerobots on Mars has been under consideration for many years. Concepts include deployment during entry into the atmosphere from a carrier spacecraft, deployment from a lander, use of super-pressurized systems for long duration flights, 'hot-air' systems, etc. Principal advantages include the ability to obtain high-resolution data of the surface because balloons provide a low-altitude platform which moves relatively slowly. Work conducted within the last few years has removed many of the technical difficulties encountered in deployment and operation of balloons/aerobots on Mars. The concept proposed here (a tethered balloon released from a lander) uses a relatively simple approach which would enable aspects of Martian balloons to be tested while providing useful and potentially unique science results. Tethered Micro-Balloons on Mars (TMBM) would be carried to Mars on board a future lander as a stand-alone experiment having a total mass of one to two kilograms. It would consist of a helium balloon of up to 50 cubic meters that is inflated after landing and initially tethered to the lander. Its primary instrumentation would be a camera that would be carried to an altitude of up to tens of meters above the surface. Imaging data would be transmitted to the lander for inclusion in the mission data stream. The tether would be released in stages allowing different resolutions and coverage. In addition during this staged release a lander camera system may observe the motion of the balloon at various heights above he lander. Under some scenarios upon completion of the primary phase of TMBM operations, the tether would be cut, allowing TMBM to drift away from the landing site, during which images would be taken along the ground.
Document ID
20010020515
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Sims, M. H.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Greeley, R.
(Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ United States)
Cutts, J. A.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Yavrouian, A. H.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Murbach, M.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration
Issue: Part 2
Subject Category
Aerodynamics
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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