From canyons to glaciers, from geology to astrobiology, the amount of exciting surface science awaiting us at Mars greatly outstrips available mission opportunities. Based on the thrice -flown Aerospace Corporation Earth Reentry Breakup Recorder (REBR), we present a method for accurate landing of small instrument payloads on Mars, utilizing excess cruise -stage mass on larger missions. One to a few such microlanders might add 1-5% to the cost of a primary mission with inconsequential risk. Using the REBR and JPL Deep Space 2 starting points for a passively stable entry vehicle provides a low mass and low ballistic coefficient, enabling subsonic d employment of a steerable parawing glider, capable of 10+ km of guided flight at a 3:1 glide ratio. Originally developed for the Gemini human space program, the parawing is attractive for a volume -limited microprobe, minimizing descent velocity, and providing sufficient remaining volume for a useful scientific payload. The ability to steer the parawing during descent opens unique opportunities, including terrain- relative navigation for landing within tens of meters of one of several specified targets within a given uncertainty ellipse. In addition to scientific value, some Mars human exploration Strategic Knowledge Gaps could be addressed with deployment of focused instruments at multiple locations.
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites; Aug 08, 2015 - Aug 13, 2015; Logan, UT; United States