NASA’s Parachute Problem

NASA

NASA has finally taken steps to solve its parachute problem. Since the start of human space exploration, Mars has always been a key target of several nations and space programs. Thus, The American National Aeronautics and Space Administration, commonly known as NASA, has worked hard throughout the years in its attempt to explore the “red planet” more thoroughly than ever before. However, although technologies have advanced greatly since the beginning of the Martian projects, one small yet significant detail has remained unchanged through many tries: the parachute. All the failed and successful attempts of sending machines and vehicles to Mars have utilized the same parachute model since the 1970s; one that NASA has finally decided to change. Now, new, even heavier models will be sent into space. NASA hopes these new models will be able to deliver more robust rovers and perhaps even massive, enclosed human habitats to the red planet.

After creating a new craft to be sent on a mission to Mars, NASA planned several tests to be completed on Earth, where the conditions are most similar to those on Mars. Engineers at NASA will attempt to solve their parachute problem by perfecting a new parachute, enabling them to use heavier, more effective technology and safely land on Martian soil.

The new “flying saucer” will soon test its equipment on the coast of the Hawaiian island, Kauai. A two-week launch was originally planned for a previous date, but the tests had to be postponed due to bad weather conditions, as the strong winds blowing in the area of the military base in Kauai caused NASA to delay all plans.

On the other hand, beyond the importance of this event in simple terms of scientific and human progress, some are focusing on what they call a lack of attention to detail on NASA’s part. A better parachute being developed earlier might have been able to make the difference and turn some of NASA’s Mars landing failures into successful missions.

Surely, there were other reasons for the failed missions as well, but one can logically assume that the parachute is a key element in a vehicle’s landing. Some are asking if NASA had any good reason to overlook this small yet important detail, or whether NASA engineers were just focusing on larger issues, and overlooked the parachute problem because it was theoretically working for the previous crafts.

NASA hopes it will solve the parachute problem and thus complete another, even more successful Martian mission. This change, however small, might just be the detail they needed in order to pursue a new, wider, more effective exploratory campaign on the red planet. Could all of this lead to their greatest goal: finding life on Martian soil? All one can wonder now is whether this dream of NASA, shared by scientists and people all over the world, will remain an imaginary science fiction tale writers include in their novels, or whether fresh discoveries, perhaps even the discovery of life on Mars, will change humanity forever.

By: Rebecca Savastio

Sources:

CBC

New York Daily News

The Verge

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