ARES Home ARES Science ARES Platform Reliability and Risk Reduction Program Images and Movies ARES Team

ARES Platform

Oblique view of airplane



ARES Enables a New Class of Science that Complements and Extends the Mars Exploration Program
  • Simultaneous, in-situ, regional-scale measurement of the Mars atmosphere, surface, and interior
  • Bridges critical scale and resolution measurement gaps of remote sensing and surface exploration
  • Scout for future sample return and surface mission site selection

  • Magnetic survey with spatial resolution two orders of magnitude higher than provided by Mars Global Surveyor, with ability to resolve the crustal magnetism source structure
  • High-resolution measurements that cannot be achieved from orbit
  • Geologic diversity from regional-scale coverage that cannot be achieved by surface missions
  • In-situ atmospheric science
  • Ability to traverse terrain inaccessible to surface vehicles
  • Ability to precisely target science features
  • Ability to execute a controlled, pre-planned aerial survey pattern
  • Robust performance with regard to atmospheric uncertainties




Entry, Descent, and Deployment Sequence of Events

ARES will travel to Mars compactly folded into a protective aeroshell. The following images depict the sequence of events that will allow it to emerge safely and reliably from its aeroshell and begin flying over Mars.
airplane over mars terrain
Atmospheric Entry, Paracute Deployment, and Heatshield Release

airplane over mars terrain
Heatshield Release, Aircraft Ejection, and Aircraft Release

airplane over mars terrain
Tail Unfolding Begins, Tail Unfolding Complete, and Wings Unfolding

airplane over mars terrain
Aircraft Pull-up, Mars Exploration Begins...




A Balanced Design

In order to meet its science objectives, ARES must balance aeroshell packaging efficiency, instrument packaging efficiency, mechanical reliability, and aircraft performance while maintaining overall system robustness to uncertainties in the Mars environment.

airplane over mars terrain

A considerable amount of engineering design, analysis, and testing has produced a system design that can reliably deliver an aircraft safely to Mars flight conditions. You can find out more about our on-going efforts to reduce mission risk in our Reliability Section.



Size is Important

The large size of the ARES airplane allows:

  • Traditional design, test and manufacturing
  • Credible aerodynamic and stability predictions
  • Flight-proven systems with large margins
  • Robust stability and control performance to accommodate uncertainties in the Mars environment

full-scale mars airplane
The ARES full-scale and half-scale flight test vehicles.



print and fold a scale Mars Airplane modelprint and fold a scale Mars Airplane model Click one of the pictures on the left to download a file that you can print, cut out, and fold to make your own scale model of the ARES Mars Airplane! The PDF version can be opened with the Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded for free by clicking this link.


ARES Home ARES Science ARES Platform Reliability and Risk Reduction Program Images and Movies ARES Team



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Page last updated: 08/02/2011