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Exploring Planets with Directed Aerial Robot Explorers

Pankine, Alexey A. and Aaron, Kim M. and Heun, Matthew K. and Nock, Kerry T. and Schlaifer, R. Stephen and Ingersoll, Andrew P. and Lorenz, Ralph D. (2004) Exploring Planets with Directed Aerial Robot Explorers. In: Space Technology and Applications International Forum, STAIF 2004. AIP Conference Proceedings. No.699. American Institute of Physics , Melville, NY, pp. 883-892. ISBN 0-7354-0171-3.

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Global Aerospace Corporation (GAC) is developing a revolutionary system architecture for exploration of planetary atmospheres and surfaces from atmospheric altitudes. The work is supported by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC). The innovative system architecture relies upon the use of Directed Aerial Robot Explorers (DAREs), which essentially are long-duration-flight autonomous balloons with trajectory control capabilities that can deploy swarms of miniature probes over multiple target areas. Balloon guidance capabilities will offer unprecedented opportunities in high-resolution, targeted observations of both atmospheric and surface phenomena. Multifunctional microprobes will be deployed from the balloons once over the target areas, and perform a multitude of functions, such as atmospheric profiling or surface exploration, relaying data back to the balloons or an orbiter. This architecture will enable low-cost, low-energy, long-term global exploration of planetary atmospheres and surfaces. This paper focuses on a conceptual analysis of the DARE architecture capabilities and science applications for Venus, Titan and Jupiter. Preliminary simulations with simplified atmospheric models show that a relatively small trajectory control wing can enable global coverage of the atmospheres of Venus and Titan by a single balloon over a 100-day mission. This presents unique opportunities for global in situ sampling of the atmospheric composition and dynamics, atmospheric profiling over multiple sites with small dropsondes and targeted deployment of surface microprobes. At Jupiter, path guidance capabilities of the DARE platforms permits targeting localized regions of interest, such as "hot spots" or the Great Red Spot. A single DARE platform at Jupiter can sample major types of the atmospheric flows (zones and belts) over a 100-day mission. Observations by deployable probes would reveal if the differences exist in radiative, dynamic and compositional environments at these sites.

Item Type:Book Section
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Ingersoll, Andrew P.0000-0002-2035-9198
Lorenz, Ralph D.0000-0001-8528-4644
Additional Information:© 2004 American Institute of Physics. Issue Date: 4 February 2004. This work was supported by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) under USRA Contract no. 07600-099.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:space research, planetary atmospheres, balloons, robots, architecture, cost-benefit analysis, Jupiter, Venus, Mars
Series Name:AIP Conference Proceedings
Issue or Number:699
Classification Code:PACS: 95.55.Ka; 93.85.+q; 45.40.Ln
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110830-104357018
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Exploring Planets with Directed Aerial Robot Explorers Alexey A. Pankine, Kim M. Aaron, Matthew K. Heun, Kerry T. Nock, R. Stephen Schlaifer, Andrew P. Ingersoll, and Ralph D. Lorenz, AIP Conf. Proc. 699, 883 (2004), DOI:10.1063/1.1649653
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:25163
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Aug 2011 21:14
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:30

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