A prototype of the flying wing aircraft debuted this week. The Preliminary Research Aerodynamics Design to Land on Mars, Prandtl-m, will test launch from a high altitude balloon later this year. A 100,000 foot altitude release will simulate flight conditions of a Martian atmosphere.
The aircraft is designed to hitch a ride in a CubeSat, a commercial miniaturized satellite. The Prandtl-m would function as ballast until jettisoned, becoming a UFO over Mars. The craft could piggyback aboard the 2022-2024 Mars rover mission without affecting the mission’s cost. As few as three CubeSats could carry one Prandtl-m.
It would have a flight time [...]