Final month, NASA took one other step in direction of the Red Planet with a test of its supersonic parachute, designed to slow the spacecraft down because it enters the Martian environment at greater than 12,000 mph. A dramatic video on board the test flight captured the parachute opening flawlessly at practically twice the speed of sound.
What Scientists Say About Supersonic Parachute?
“It’s fairly a journey! The imagery of our first parachute inflation is sort of as breathtaking to behold as it’s scientifically important,” said Ian Clark of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “For the first time, we get to see what it will seem like to be in a spacecraft hurtling in direction of the Red Planet, unfurling its parachute.”
An earlier parachute check resulted in a failure, with the parachute shredding quickly after deployment.
Watch The Video of Nasa’s Mars 2020 Supersonic Parachute
The primary part of the Supersonic Parachute Inflation Analysis Experiment (ASPIRE) was launched aboard a Black Brant IX rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia. After reaching a top of 32 miles, the payload capsule began to plummet back to Earth. As soon as it reached a velocity of Mach 1.8 at an altitude of 26 miles, the Mars parachute deployed efficiently. The ASPIRE splashed down within the Atlantic Ocean 35 minutes after liftoff.
The test parachute was virtually equivalent to the one used to land NASA’s Curiosity rover on the floor of the red planet in 2012. “All the things went based on plan or higher than planned,” mentioned Clark. The following ASPIRE test is planned for February of 2018. “We not solely proved that we may get our payload to the proper altitude and velocity situations to greatest mimic a parachute deployment within the Martian environment, however as an added bonus, we acquired to see our parachute in action as properly.”
Along with the parachute, the Mars mission’s landing system features a descent car and a difficult process often called a “skycrane maneuver,” which lowers the rover on a cable to the floor.
The Mars 2020 rover will search for indicators of historical Martian life by drilling for core samples that will comprise proof of previous microbial life and “cache” them for assortment throughout a possible future mission. It’s going to additionally check completely different strategies of producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere.
After launching through the summer of 2020, when the 2 planets are comparatively close to one another, the rover is scheduled to set down on the surface of Mars in February 2021.