Design Engine
Training Classes/Tutorials for Designers, Engineers, & 3D Professionals


Google+

Ideas, Thoughts, Perspectives

February 3rd, 2016

Is This Engineless Aircraft The Key To Aviation On Mars?

Airbus Perlan II will be the first engineless aircraft to fly at the edge of space using nothing but wind. The glider is said to be capable of reaching altitudes of 90,000 ft and if it succeeds it’s scheduled trip in June, it will become the highest plane in history – engineless or not.

An engineless aircraft might sound just a little bit scary, so we should note these planes won’t be used commercially anytime soon. This particular engineless aircraft works by riding mountain waves – the glider needs to reach several thousand feet in altitude, using a tow plane and cable, before it is released on it’s own to ride the Andes mountain waves. And it’s been done before. In 2006, the Perlan 1 reached an altitude of about 50,000 feet but the two pilots onboard the aircraft, Steve Fosset and Einar Enevoldson, wore borrowed NASA spacesuits, making it much more difficult to operate the aircraft. The Perlan II plans to have the pilots operate in a pressurized cabin and be provided with fresh oxygen from a rebreather system. The Perlan II, without crew, weighs in at about 1100 pounds – that’s including several scientific instruments, cameras and ground-communications equipment already on board. It even comes with two parachutes for the pilots in case of an emergency situation.

The Perlan II during a test flight in Oregon Image via Daily Mail

The Perlan II during a test flight in Oregon
Image via Daily Mail

The Perlan II during a test flight in Oregon Image via Daily Mail

The Perlan II during a test flight in Oregon
Image via Daily Mail

Image Via Perlan Project

Image Via Perlan Project

 

2CB80BD600000578-3247707-This_week_s_maiden_flight_was_piloted_by_Jim_Payne_and_Morgan_Sa-a-113_1443109574906

The Perlan Project, as it’s called, explained the mission of the Perlan II, “The Perlan 2 will fly to 90,000 feet at the edge of space to explore the science of giant mountain waves that help create the ozone hole and change global climate models. This will require the engineering of a spacecraft with glider wings that can fly in less than 3% of normal air density and at temperatures of minus 70 degrees C, conditions approximating the surface of Mars. These missions will provide education and inspiration for young people seeking careers of exploration and adventure in engineering and science.”

While the glider is not necessarily a prototype for future aircraft (no, we probably won’t be commercially flying to Mars anytime soon,) it has the potential to open up a whole new world of possibilities for space travel and exploration. Because the glider will operate in atmospheric conditions similar to those on Mars, it will provide space agencies with insight as to how a winged aircraft would operate on Mars’ own atmosphere. According to Allan McArtor, Chairman and CEO of Airbus, the Perlan II could potentially “pave the way for both future aviation on Mars and Earth-based commercial hypersonic aircraft.”

 

Article Written By Mila Medonaite for Design Engine, February 3, 2016


About the Author

Design-Engine





Design Engine Industrial Design Training Pro Engineer
 
 

 

Proterra’s Electric Bus Breaks World Record, Traveling 1,102 Miles on A Single Charge

California-based company Proterra believes their electric buses could be another step towards removing our reliance on fossil fuels. Proterra’s Catalyst E2 Max Electric bus set a new world record for the longest distance trav...
by Mila Medonaite
0

 
 

Eviation Unveils All-Electric Private Jet

Eviation Aircraft released the first prototype of an all-electric airplane. Named the “Alice”, the zero-emission aircraft has the capacity to carry nine passengers and two crew members and has a range of roughly 600 miles. ...
by Mila Medonaite
0

 
 

The Proposed Improvements to Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive

A fresh set of renderings for the transformation of Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive have been revealed. The new plan calls for a 70-acre park extending out into Lake Michigan as well as upgrades to the beaches at Oak Street and Oh...
by Mila Medonaite
0

 

 

Event Showcase: Humanscale’s “Beyond Sustainability” Discussion

The 4th floor of the Soho House set the scene for a thoughtful and compelling presentation about sustainability in furniture design. The presenter was Jon Strassner, Director of Workplace Strategy at Humanscale. A LEED Accredit...
by Bart
0

 
 

Elon Musk Believes Artificial Intelligence is The Biggest Threat We Face as a Civilization

Billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk sees artificial intelligence as the biggest threat to humanity. Musk, speaking at the National Governors Association on Saturday, explained, “There certainly will be job disruptio...
by Mila Medonaite
0

 



0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


You must be logged in to post a comment.