Mars hopper spacecraft, artwork

Mars hopper spacecraft, artwork

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Credit: CLAUS LUNAU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mars hopper spacecraft. Artwork of the landing and hopping phases of a Mars lander. Several proposed designs for spacecraft to explore Mars now use the hopper concept. This involves the lander arriving at the planet's surface using conventional aerobraking (parachute shown). Rockets would be used for a soft landing. Once landed, the rockets could be restarted using carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as a fuel. This would enable to lander to launch itself distances of around a kilometre for each hop. Examples of Mars hopper missions are Mars Reconnaissance Lander (announced 2011), and Mars Geyser Hopper (2016 landing).

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