Global Aerospace Corporation (GAC) is developing
a revolutionary system architecture for exploration of planetary
atmospheres and surfaces from atmospheric altitudes. This
innovative system architecture relies upon the use of Directed
Aerial Robot Explorers (DARE), which essentially are autonomous
balloons with trajectory control capabilities that can deploy
swarms of miniature probes over multiple target areas. The
balloons will follow the winds while in passive-exploring
mode or steer across the winds towards regions of interest
while in active-directed mode.
The balloons will serve a dual purpose as independent explorers
and as micro probes (MIPs) delivery systems for targeted observations.
Trajectory control capabilities will offer unprecedented opportunities
in high-resolution targeted observations of both atmospheric
and surface phenomena. Multifunctional micro probes will be
deployed from the balloons once over the target areas, and
perform a multitude of functions, such as atmospheric profiling
(Jupiter, Saturn), or surface exploration (Mars, Venus, Titan),
relaying data back to the balloons.
This architecture will enable low-cost, low-energy, long-term
global exploration of planetary atmospheres and surfaces.
Key elements of this new concept
- Low-cost, low-energy, long-duration, autonomous balloon
- Lightweight and efficient power generation and energy
- Balloon trajectory control capability, and
- Deployable micro sensors for in situ atmospheric profiling
or surface exploration
Venus has been selected for a more focused
study of the DARE system architecture because its planetary
atmosphere allows for a high degree of trajectory control,
the balloon technology has been previously tested in the Venus
atmosphere, and because of the high scientific priority of
such a mission. A Venus mission would: