DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars balloon experiment. Artwork of a balloon descending onto the Martian surface. This balloon was designed by the French space agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales). The balloon would be released from an orbiting spacecraft during the Martian daytime. It would then float in Mars' atmosphere and send back weather data to the spacecraft. At night it would descend and allow instruments (suspended from the balloon) to analyse the soil directly. The balloon was to have been launched as part of the Russian missions to Mars in 1994 and 1996. These missions failed due to technical difficulties and lack of funding.
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