NASA tests parachute that will land on Mars

Mars 2020 Parachute a Go, Third ASPIRE Test Sets Record

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NASA said Friday its Mars 2020 parachute is ready for duty. "And let me tell you, it looks attractive".

During the ultrafast inflation, the huge Technora and Kevlar-fiber parachute created nearly 70,000 pounds of force. Within four-tenths of a second, the parachute went from a cylinder to fully inflated.

According to NASA, the payload dove back through the atmosphere and then deployed the parachute when it reached the appropriate distance and Mach number. The parachute will then detach and the spacecraft will fire up rockets, hover over the surface and then lower the rover to the surface of the Red Planet.

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NASA reported that a parachute created to be used in future Mars missions - robotic and manned - has been tested with positive results.

During the test, the parachute deployed completely in just four-tenths of a second, the fastest inflation of such a large parachute, according to NASA.

NASA's ASPIRE project (Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment) was tasked with developing a parachute that could open extremely quickly, at very high speeds, in a very diffuse atmosphere.

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The eight-episode series "On a Mission" launches today, letting subscribers follow along with the InSight lander as it travels hundreds of millions of miles through space in the hopes of landing on Mars on November 26.

"Earth's atmosphere near the surface is much denser than that near the Martian surface, by about 100 times", said Ian Clark, the test's technical lead from JPL. On Board was the payload, separated from the camera, before he returned to Earth.

'I may not get to shoot rockets to the edge of space for a while, but when it comes to Mars - and when it comes to getting there and getting down there safely - there are always exciting challenges to work on around here'.

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Representatives of the Jet Propulsion Lab working on the project, claim that the Department consulted and gave the green light to ASPIRE to join the Mars 2020 mission. Northrop Grumman provides mission planning, engineering services and field operations through the NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract.

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