NASA Will Test A Supersonic Parachute For Future Mars Mission

Posted: Mar 21 2018, 1:56pm CDT | by , Updated: Mar 21 2018, 1:59pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
NASA will Test a Supersonic Parachute for Future Mars Mission
Credit: NASA/Wallops

On March 27, NASA will perform a parachute test in Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in support of Mars 2020 mission

NASA will conduct a critical parachute test on March 27. The test will take place on NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and will evaluate the performance of an advanced supersonic parachute which will drop a rover on Mars surface as part of 2020 mission.

The Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment, or ASPIRE, is the upcoming mission's parachute-testing series. During the experiment, a 58-foot-tall Terrier-Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket will carry the payload from ASPIRE to an altitude of 40 miles. The Terrier-Black Brant rocket can travel more than three times the speed of sound and can reach 32 miles in approximately two minutes carrying payload. The ASPIRE payload is a bullet-nosed, cylindrical structure which is holding a supersonic parachute. It also includes high-definition instruments like cameras to record the test.

Once reached the desired level, the payload will splash-down in Atlantic Ocean. Then, it will be recovered and taken to Wallops facility for the analysis of data.

“The launch window for the 58-foot-tall Terrier-Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket is from 6:45 to10:15 a.m. Backup launch days are March 28 to April 10. The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will open at 6 a.m. on launch day for viewing the flight. The rocket launch is expected to be only seen from the Wallops area.” NASA statement reads.

The will be the second test of the ongoing series in support of NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 mission. The first parachute test was performed in October 4, 2017 and it went according to the plan.

The Mars 2020 mission will search for the signs of ancient life on Mars and also drill samples of Martian rocks for potential future return to Earth. Landing on MARS to investigate its environment would be technically challenging. So the mission will rely on a special parachute to slow the spacecraft down as it enters the Martian atmosphere at over 12,000 mph.

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