NASA Flying Saucer "LDSD" Test Will Ensure Safe Human Landing On Mars

NASA engineers will test the flying saucer, technically called the 'low density supersonic decelerator' on June 3 at about 5:30 GMT. The saucer itself is a big parachute, measuring about 15 ft in diameter and weighing about 3.2 tonnes. If successful, the flying saucer will play an instrumental role in putting humans on Mars about 20 years from now. 

The test will be carried out at Kauai in Hawaii. A large balloon will take the LDSD at an altitude of about 37km high and then release it. The booster rocket will then be deployed to take the saucer to an altitude of about 54.86km. During its journey back to the Earth, an airbag will inflate around the saucer to add more area and hence the increased drag. A supersonic parachute will also be deployed when the saucer achieves sufficient speed. 

The entire journey of the flying saucer right from the launch to return is expected to take about 2 hours and 15 minutes. NASA will broadcast live video of the test and we hope to make it available here on CrazyEngineers. NASA is betting big on the new supersonic parachute. During the test flight last year, the parachute got torn out during journey back to the earth.


NASA will monitor the flight with on-board cameras. NASA will be closely monitoring how the supersonic parachute works when it's deployed at Mach 2.35. NASA says that because the atmosphere on the Mars is thinner than that of Earth, the parachutes will need to be a lot larger to create sufficient drag. 

We wish team NASA all the best and look forward to a successful test!

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