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An overview of a Mars Aeronomy Explorer (MAX) mission design study performed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is presented herein. The mission design consists of ten microspacecraft orbiters launched on a Delta IV to Mars polar orbit to determine the spatial, diurnal and seasonal variation of the constituents of the Martian upper atmosphere and ionosphere over the course of one Martian year. The spacecraft are designed to allow penetration of the upper atmosphere to at least 90 km. This property coupled with orbit precession will yield knowledge of the nature of the solar wind interaction with Mars, the influence of the Mars crustal magnetic field on ionospheric processes, and the measurement of present thermal and nonthermal escape rates of atmospheric constituents. The mission design incorporates alternative design paradigms that are more appropriate for - and in some cases motivate-distributed microspacecraft. These design paradigms are not defined by a simple set of rules, but rather a way of thinking about the function of instruments, mission reliability/risk, and cost in a systemic framework.