Innovative Wing Design Could Soar in Martian Skies Space News

A team of undergraduate engineering students from the University of Kentucky scored a partial success in a recent test of a prototype Mars exploration aircraft whose wings would inflate to take on their aerodynamic shape once within the thin martian atmosphere. Inflatable wings are seen as a promising solution for a vexing problem facing NASA engineers: building an aircraft that can be successfully unfurled or unfolded into its flight configuration after being stowed within the tight confines of a space capsule for the long journey to the red planet. The problem has twice abruptly halted NASA efforts to develop a glider or powered aircraft to explore Mars.