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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

Two-Dimensional Planetary Surface Landers

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

We propose to develop a new landing approach that significantly reduces development time and obviates the most complicated, most expensive and highest-risk phase of any landing mission. The concept is a blanket- or carpet-like two-dimensional (2D) lander with a low mass/drag ratio, which allows the lander to efficiently shed its approach velocity and provide a more robust structure for landing integrity. The flat nature and low mass of these landers allows dozens to be stacked for transport and distributed en masse to the surface. The concept leverages recent developments in microelectronics and MEMS technology, such as the lab-on-a-chip, integrated RF comm, and laser probes.

A stack of individual flexible sheets, each equipped with a variety of planet/body probing sensors, power generators, associated avionics, and telecommunications capability comprise two-dimensional (2D) spacecraft landers.

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