Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sailing the planets

Floating just several kilometers above the surface of Mars, the guided Mars balloons can observe rock formations, layerings in canyon walls and polar caps, and other features - at very high resolution using relatively small cameras.

The Mars-balloon idea has been making the rounds for year; perhaps the success of the rovers will spur someone -- such as the European Space Agency -- to finally go for it. Imagine one of these automated jellyfish hovering over the Face or dipping its guide-ropes into Valles Marineris.

(There's always the risk of getting snagged on one of Arthur C. Clarke's "banyan trees," but I think it would be worth the sacrifice.)

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