Meet Maggie, a solar-powered aircraft to search Mars for water

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Supercool stuff (which i hope will happen) - thankee for the post! First question in simpleton’s mind is: so how big we talk’n? They are surprisingly cagey about that. Took a dozen searches to find:

Its impressive wingspan, stretching potentially 32 meters, would allow it to traverse vast distances, covering up to 179 kilometers on a single charge. And Maggie isn’t built for fleeting expeditions; its extended-range fuel cells could keep it cruising for over 16,000 kilometers throughout a Martian year, roughly two Earth years.

…and apparently it’s expected to land and take off multiple times (maybe). cool beans! hope they can keep musk-y fingerprints off of it.


Cool concept. Better keep those fingers crossed for good weather though, I don’t imagine it would fare well in one of Mars’ infamous planet-wide dust storms.


A memory for a lifetime indeed! Maggie better hurry and get her ass to Mars then.


I hope to see this. I assume if it would be capable of flying high enough to avoid the nasty terrestrial Martian storms.


Of course, the project would have been launched a couple of years ago, if only the engineers had come up with a pleasing acronym sooner.


the hardest part is figuring out the name of the band^h^h^h robot

One of my least favorite things about being an engineer is the tortured acronyms. I would much rather take 5 seconds to call this comment “Comment about Acronyms in Engineering Projects (CAEP)” and then go engineering than spend three hours with a committee of people to narrow it down to “Comment about AcrOnyms in ENgineering ProjEcts (CONE)” or “CommeNt about Acronyms in EngineeRing ProjeCts (NARC),” neither of which is actually an acronym, initialization, or anything that makes a damn bit of sense.


Comments on Acronyms for Projects (Engineering), because not all heroes wear CAPEs

(But yes, I agree. STEM acronyms are often tortured)





…soar at up to 190 MPH for up to 111 miles on a full charge—nearly 10,000 miles a year…

Great! And if its Check Engine light comes on, the Olympus Mons dealership service guys would be the ones to have a looksee.

Oh yeah, shouldn’t it be called “MAGIE” (and why not)?

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Why not “Mars Aerial and Ground Intelligent Cartographer” - MAGIC

@Hubber I often am asked to contribute to these silly acronym exercises, but I prefer to make my own backronyms.


Having spent a career working with engineers, the creation of wonderfully dumb acronyms (and bacronyms) is one of my favourite things about them. I still remember the look of joy on a colleague’s face when he explained the population/household distribution component of the transport model he’d built and called the Stochastic Household Aggregator Module.


Because it would be like the Magi, and everyone would argue about how to pronounce it.

Maggie? Madjie? Magg-eye? Madj-eye?

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Yeah, if electric car range and laptop battery claims have taught me anything real world use won’t match the marketing hype :wink:

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Does the Mars atmosphere help or hurt? It hurts because there’s little lift but helps because there’s little drag, so maybe for a solar powered craft, low drag is a bigger help than low lift is a problem? Just wondering on this. How light could a usable RTG source be, for comparison?


A friend of mine is one of the top managers for the Nancy Grace Roman telescope – the follow on James Webb (although, given Webb’s delays, following on a lot closer than anyone expected). He adamantly refuses to let anyone put a backronym on it. It’s named for Nancy Grace Roman, a specific person, and it’s not the Reallybig Optical Mechanical Astronomer, Nifty, or whatever.


Some of the aspects of those storms have been a bit exaggerated in The Martian and other sci-fi for dramatic effect. NASA says that they top out at about 60 mph, but since the atmosphere is so thin that would only feel like a light breeze.

The Fact and Fiction of Martian Dust Storms – NASA Mars Exploration.

The dust that gets deposited on solar cells is an issue but maybe they can come up with effective ways to blow that off periodically.