As humanity looked up to the starry sky, Mars has captured our imagination. Today, that fascination is transforming into a bold and innovative exploration. The MAGGIE project, initiated by NASA, is poised to revolutionize our understanding of the Red Planet. With feasibility studies that have just begun, MAGGIE promises an unprecedented exploration of Mars, powered by advanced solar technology.
In April 2021, a historic milestone was set with NASA's small Ingenuity helicopter. who achieved the first powered flight on a planet other than Earth. This resounding success is just the start of greater ambitions for MAGGIE. Designed to travel across Mars at speeds and altitudes never before achieved.
The goal is clear: a fully automatic Mars plane that flies at a speed of 300 km/h and up to 1000 meters altitude, to explore the Red Planet like never before.
MAGGIE: a technical masterpiece
MAGGIE, Acronym for Mars Aerial and Ground Global Intelligent Explorer, is a revolutionary concept of solar aircraft.
Designed by Professor Ge-Cheng Zha of the University of Miami, MAGGIE was selected from a series of innovative projects in NASA's NIAC program. This project benefits from initial funding of $175,000. pave the way for nine-month feasibility studies.
With an ambitious goal, MAGGIE could travel up to 16,000 kilometers in a Martian year therefore covers almost all areas of Mars.
The project is characterized by its vertical takeoff and landing capability (VTOL), adapted to the weak Martian atmosphere and powered by solar energy due to its energy efficiency.
Mars' thin atmosphere presents a unique challenge, but MAGGIE's dual wings promise to overcome this challenge thanks to innovative aerodynamic technology.
NASA's Project Maggie symbolizes a new era of space exploration.
The active airflow control developed by CoFlow Jet will equip the wings, whereby an exceptional buoyancy coefficient can be achieved. This technology, combined with propellers powered by photovoltaic cells, allows MAGGIE to perform vertical takeoffs and landings and achieve remarkable performances.
Thanks to CFJ technology (CoFlow Jet), MAGGIE is able to fly at a cruising speed of Mach 0.25 (approx. 300 km/h). with a lift coefficient of 3.5, almost ten times higher than conventional subsonic aircraft on Earth.
What missions for NASA's solar plane?
MAGGIE's skills open the door to a variety of scientific missions. He will be able to explore questions that have not been answered for a long time, such as the history of Mars' magnetic field, the source of atmospheric methane, and high-resolution mapping of subsurface water ice.
These missions could provide crucial answers to the geological and climatic history of Mars. and possibly about the former existence of life on Mars.
MAGGIE is more than just a project. It symbolizes a new era of space exploration. By pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible, This project has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of Mars. Since almost no area of the Red Planet is out of reach, MAGGIE could unlock the secrets of Mars and bring us a little closer to the stars.