NASA’s saucer-shaped craft could hold the key to Mans ticket to Mars
Photo via rt.com
Kauai, Hawaii – Hawaiian residents will get the best view of NASA’s saucer-shaped craft this Wednesday as a test flights of a huge balloon carrying the disc-like Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator. Tuesdays flight was scrubbed due to unfavorable ocean conditions, but Wednesday is looking promising.
Scientists will be studying how the craft splashes down, so weather conditions need to be appropriate so that recovery teams can retrieve the LDSD’s data.
The balloon carrying the saucer-shaped craft will rise to a height of 120,000 feet above Earth before the crafts rockets ignite, testing out a 100ft wide supersonic parachute.
In response to people questioning whether or not they will be able to view the experiment, a live video feed will be recorded by all four pioneering saucer-shaped craft cameras. Project manager Mark Adler at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said:
You get to see all the same video I do, at the same time I do
This is not the first test flight the LDSD has made. It was tested last year from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range facility in Kauai, Hawaii. Scientists and technicians had to go back to the drawing board on the parachute when it didn’t inflate as expected. NASA came up with a new design called the Supersonic Ringsail parachute and is the largest supersonic parachute ever tested for use on Mars.
The use of the “flying saucer” shape is not meant to freak out locals and freak out conspiracy theorists. That shape could be what holds the key to the flights success.
A report from NASA’s site was quoted as saying:
As NASA plans ambitious robotic science missions to Mars, laying the groundwork for even more complex human expeditions to come, the spacecraft needed to land safely on the Red Planet’s surface will become larger and heavier in order to accommodate explorers’ extended stays on the Martian surface.
It will be another year before the third LDSD test flight is scheduled, so NASA hopes all goes well with tomorrows test flight and landing.