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Evacuated Airship for Mars Missions: NIAC Phase I, 2017An evacuated or vacuum airship relies on the same principle of buoyancy used by standard balloons. However, unlike a balloon which uses a lighter than air gas to displace air and provide lift, the vacuum airship leverages a rigid structure to maintain a vacuum and displace air, thereby providing buoyancy. This method is similar to how a ship uses a rigid structure to displace water and fill the space with air; an evacuated airship uses the same mechanism, except air is displaced and the space remains vacant. Using this method, the evacuated airship is capable of utilizing the full potential of the displaced mass of air, which has interesting implications in the Martian atmosphere. Unlike other aerial vehicles, which are at a disadvantage in Martian atmospheric conditions, the evacuated airship benefits from the Martian atmosphere by virtue of the temperature and molecular composition. As a result, the evacuated airship offers an unprecedented payload capacity and, if implemented, may be used to transport current and future scientific instruments, other vehicles, rovers, and possibly even human habitations. A standard dirigible or balloon for Mars would have a severely limited span of operation and a very narrow field of study, nearly exclusively the atmosphere, but a vacuum airship can be used as a long term tool for many different missions: transportation, ground study, communications, atmospheric study, etcetera, thereby making it a far more economically sensible choice
Document ID
Document Type
Clarke, John-Paul (Georgia Inst. of Technology Atlanta, GA, United States)
Rimoli, Julian (Georgia Inst. of Technology Atlanta, GA, United States)
Gloyd, James Todd (Georgia Inst. of Technology Atlanta, GA, United States)
Logarzo, Hernan (Georgia Inst. of Technology Atlanta, GA, United States)
Kraus, Julie (Georgia Inst. of Technology Atlanta, GA, United States)
Date Acquired
October 24, 2018
Publication Date
February 14, 2018
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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