Watch the First Supersonic Parachute Test Ahead of Red Planet Mission

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A supersonic parachute that might be utilized in NASA’s Mars 2020 mission has been efficiently examined on the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.

Footage of the parachute being deployed at a velocity of 1.eight instances the velocity of sound has been launched by the area company. Ian Clark, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, stated the parachute take a look at was “quite a ride.”

“The imagery of our first parachute inflation is almost as breathtaking to behold as it is scientifically significant,” he stated in an announcement. “For the first time, we get to see what it would look like to be in a spacecraft hurtling towards the Red Planet, unfurling its parachute.”

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The parachute was taken to an altitude of 26 miles earlier than being deployed. It was carried up on the 58-foot-tall Black Brant IX rocket which recorded the deployment. Footage reveals the parachute opening then falling again right down to Earth—the journey from area again right down to the Atlantic Ocean took roughly 35 minutes.

NASA will take a look at the parachute, named ASPIRE (Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment), once more in February subsequent yr.

“Everything went according to plan or better than planned,” stated Clark. “We not only proved that we could get our payload to the correct altitude and velocity conditions to best mimic a parachute deployment in the Martian atmosphere, but as an added bonus, we got to see our parachute in action as well.”

aspire-16 The Black Brant IX rocket launches from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. NASA/Wallops

The parachute might be used to sluggish the descent of the Mars Science Laboratory, permitting it to land on the floor of the planet undamaged. Researchers at NASA will now badyze the info from the take a look at flight to see if there are any enhancements that may be made and to finalize its design for the mission.

Mars 2020 might be NASA’s subsequent rover mission to the Red Planet. One of its major objectives is to get a greater understanding in regards to the potential for alien life on Mars—each current and previous. It will do that by drilling down beneath the planet’s floor the place it can gather core samples of rocks and soil. It is hoped these will include traces of any life that after existed, or that also does exist—probably answering some of the basic questions of life: Are we alone within the universe?

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