How it works: Perlan 2 Glider

How it works: Perlan 2 Glider

This sailplane will fly at an altitude of over 27,000m (90,000ft) to study weather patterns, climate change and the ozone.

As it has no engine, the Perlan 2 will not pollute the environment and the two-person crew will breathe pure oxygen.

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The Perlan 2 has a 25m wingspan and has a mass of 573kg when empty.

Mountain waves are updraughts that form when winds cross a mountain range at a perpendicular angle (see image below). The glider ‘surfs’ the mountain waves to achieve lift.

© Chris Philpot
© Chris Philpot

The Perlan 2 will set a new altitude record and will experience temperatures of -70°C.

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The glider will operate in atmospheric conditions similar to those on Mars, so its tech may help us explore the Red Planet.