Mars Airplane Soars on Earth

To better reconnoiter the Red Planet, scientists and engineers see high-tech robotic aircraft offering unique advantages. One innovative glider design, currently undergoing trial runs, is built to deploy instruments in scientifically rewarding but tough-to-get-to spots on Mars. The remotely operated 8-foot (2.4 meter) flying wing is one of several projects a group of independent scientists and engineers are working on preparing. The objective: to construct safe, smart, and autonomous landing vehicles and systems for investigating Mars and other worlds.