Mars Solar Balloon Lander

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNG04CA92C
Agency Tracking Number: 033797
Amount: $69,941.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
11111 W. 8th Ave., Unit A, Lakewood, CO, 80215
DUNS: 957619083
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Zubrin
 Principal Investigator
 (303) 980-0890
Business Contact
 Robert Zubrin
Title: Business Official
Phone: (303) 980-0890
Research Institution
The Mars Solar Balloon Lander (MSBL) is a novel concept which utilizes the capability of solar-heated hot air balloons to perform soft landings of scientific payloads on the Martian surface. In the MSBL concept, a dark colored or metalized zero pressure balloon is inflated with Martian atmospheric CO2 during initial descent suspended by a parachute.. As a result of the favorable optical qualities of the balloon?s coloration, the gas inside the balloon is warmed to temperatures considerably exceeding the surrounding ambient atmosphere, thereby providing buoyancy. The MSBL can thus achieve stable level flight during daylight, or can be used to deliver payloads to the ground with arbitrarily low rates of descent. After the payload is landed, the balloon can be released for a free flight remote sensing mission, or can be retained as a tethered asset by the lander serving many useful functions, including local aerial imaging, communications, or lander towing. Key technical challenges to the MSBL concern dealing with horizontal velocity during terminal descent. However the MSBL is competitive on a mass basis when compared to alternative landing technologies such as airbags, and offers many novel additional capabilities for combined surface and aerial operations.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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