NASA Flying Saucer Style Mars Lander Test A Success
Peter Donnell / 9 years ago
This week saw NASA testing their flying-saucer style craft, which they hope will be suitable for Mars landing in the near future. the vehicle has been designed to carry heavy loads and even people on future missions. The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) was taken into the stratosphere off the coast of Hawaiian island Kauai for testing. Despite the parachute not fully deploying the mission was still deemed a success, as the underlying hardware of the LDSD did its job, but the parachute specialist are likely getting an ass-whooping for the next few days.
“We’ve been using the same parachutes for several decades now,” he said. “If we want to eventually land a human on the surface of Mars, we realized we need to develop new technologies.”
To simulate the low atmosphere of Mars, the LDSD was taken to around 23 miles above the Earths surface, when detached from the helium balloon that got it there, a rocket was fired to propel the craft to a speed of Mach 4, helping NASA simulate the speeds the will be reached when making an approach to the red planet.
The current tested design can allow for payloads of up to two tons, that’s twice the weight as the Mars Science Laboratory which was sent on their last mission to Mars. If tests keep going well, the use of multiple parachutes can raise the deployment weight of the LDSD to around 20-30 tons.
Thank you USA Today for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of USA Today.