| 31 March 2023, Friday |

India and Russia develop Marsoplane to study Red Planet’s atmosphere, surface

Indian specialists, along with a team of scientists from the Moscow Aviation Institute are developing a fixed-wing robotic aerial platform, to study the atmosphere and surface of Mars, said Yelena Karpovich, MAI junior researcher in charge of the project’s UAV general and aerodynamic designing.
She added that they will be testing the technology demonstrator by late 2024. “The Mars robotic flying craft is being engineered by an international team that comprises computational fluid dynamics specialists from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur,” said Karpovich, Russian news agency TASS reported.

The project is aimed at developing the fixed-wing aerial platform that could claim its niche along with other Mars research probes, she said.
The scientists started the work on the Marsoplane in April 2022 after the Russian Science Fund approved the funding request. Karpovich said that the technology demonstrator will be tested by a team of scientists by the end of next year.

“By the end of 2024, the Russian side will have to publish ten articles, build and successfully test the technology demonstrator,” she stated.

Karpovich pointed out that the major obstacles in the project are getting the specifics of the Martian climate and atmosphere and preparing the UAV to deal with the rarified atmosphere and dust storms of Mars

“The specifics of the Martian atmosphere complicate the designing of the effective lifting surfaces and restrict us in choosing the powerplant. Dust storms require thoroughly designing protection for the systems and equipment and the flight profile of the flying craft with a small wing load,” she said.

The researcher added that it is important to find the method of placing the UAV in the nose cone of the carrier rocket.

“For this reason, our UAV must be either very compact or have a folding or soft structure design (an inflatable or self-hardening wing),” Karpovich stated.
The research team has been holding active consultations with scientific institutions and enterprises of the domestic space rocket industry.

She stated that the research mission of the project is being jointly developed by the Space Research Institute within the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“Presently, together with specialists of the Space Research Institute, we continue discussing research tasks for UAVs and their relevant devices and flight profile, as well as areas on Mars that are of interest for studies. The scientific mission can include climatic, mineralogical and thermophysical studies, as well as the study of the Martian magnetic field,” Karpovich stated.

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