Compared with Venus, Mars is a paradise. The second planet from the sun sports a toasty average temperature of 450°C and an extremely thick atmosphere filled with corrosive gases. Not only do Geoffrey Landis and his team at the NASA Glenn Research Center have to develop components that can function in extreme heat, they also need to find a way to move them around the planet. Their idea: a sail that would take advantage of Venus’ winds, which, despite their low speeds, develop significant force, thanks to the fact that the atmospheric pressure there is 50 times stronger than on Earth.
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