KAUAI, HI- N.A.S.A. seems to be feeling saucy these days. They may have taken the Space Shuttle out of commission, but they’re still sending things up into space, this one looks weirdly like a flying saucer.
At the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range facility in Hawaii, a giant weather balloon carried a “Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator” up about 120 thousand feet, more than 20 miles above earth.
The LDSD inflates to a saucer-like shape to help land heavy and more massive payloads, like one that could carry people to mars one day!!
The flight and descent took all of about 30 minuets, and though the parachute didn’t deploy as expected, judging by the control room, it appears a success.
N.A.S.A. says that safely landing a hurtling spacecraft is crucial for a human mission to Mars, hence these types of missions.
Sounds great, but if they plan to tackle intergalactic travel, they may want to get that parachute to deploy first!