Ballooning Over Mars

Came across this interesting article yesterday about future missions to Mars using a balloon to float above the planet’s surface. A balloon could cover far more of the planet than rovers or terrestrial landers, and the cameras and equipment mounted on the balloon would enjoy superior image resolution than orbiting satellites. The thing could even drop surface probes on interesting targets.

That’s an intriguing idea. Apparently the Soviets deployed a balloon over Venus in the eighties, but it only lasted a few hours in the corrosive atmosphere. This new design includes some kind of weather vane contraption that allows for a degree of control over the balloon’s direction.