Artist's impression of the LDSD. Image Credit: NASA
An experimental saucer-shaped vehicle designed to be used on Mars has undergone a successful test flight.
Intended as a mechanism for slowing down spacecraft landing on Mars, NASA's Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) was lifted high in to the Earth's atmosphere on Saturday using a balloon that took it to 120,000ft before releasing it.
The vehicle employs a special inflatable Kevlar ring and a new type of parachute designed to slow down payloads of up to 10 tonnes during future missions to the Red Planet.
This test rig, which is limited to only one-and-a-half tonnes, was considered an overall success because the inflatable 'doughnut' deployed correctly however the parachute didn't unfurl properly.
NASA is now working to retrieve and analyse the data recorders from the attempt to determine what went wrong so that the problem can be addressed and fixed for the next time.
Two further test flights are expected to take place over the Pacific within the next 18 months.
Source: BBC News | Comments (11)
UFO, Saucer, NASA