Gliding to Mars

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Polishguy

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Given that Mars has less gravity than earth, but a thinner atmosphere, might it be possible for a spacecraft to glide to a landing? How much wing area would be needed for a unit of mass? Is this in any way possible? I just thought that a possible future earth-entry lifting body could also be used on Mars.
 
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PiotrSatan

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Well that shuttle would have to be built of such glider complexes, which spread, to make full landing. If it is not so, it would be too heavy to glide and just collide with the ground. Even if it has worked, I do not know how would you get out of there though. Including if something went wrong you would die and all equipment would be going to waste.
 
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pathfinder_01

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From what I have read the thin atmosphere is the problem. The airplane would have to go twice as fast or have twice as much wingspan as on earth to fly. Both present problems(i.e. faster landing than on earth) and bigger mass.

From what I have read mars is a most annoying place to land. There is enough atmosphere to need a heat shield for reentry but not enough slow you down considerably. At least on earth although you do generate considerable heat a parachute could be enough to slow you down for a splashdown or you just need enough rocket force to break the fall(Soyuz) and land on earth. At mars you probably need a rocket to both slow down and land.
 
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