In a live broadcast today, the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), passed the spin test, making the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Flying Saucer one step closer to reaching Mars. The LDSD, will now be shipped to Hawaii to prepare for more testing. Once in Hawaii, the LDSD will be launched just out of the earths atmosphere where it will undergo further testing as it slowly descends into earths atmosphere before landing in the Pacific Ocean.
Current equipment and technology used by NASA was developed in the 1970s. This technology has a 1 ton metric limit that is being pushed to its limits. It is presently unable to withstand the conditions of Mar’s thin atmosphere nor does it possess the ability to land heavier vessels on the surface of the planet. From the same launch pad in California in June 2014, similar tests were conducted that ended with negative results. The test results showed that immediately upon deployment of the parachute from the LDSD, the parachute began to come apart. It was apparent from these results that there were some modification changes that were needed in the design.
Utilizing the newest technology available will bring NASA one step closer to achieving the ability to land on Mars. Using an inflatable balloon type structure in combination with a parachute will provide the LDSD to decrease its speed which in turn will allow for increased opportunities to land on the surface of Mars. The combination of the inflatable balloon and the new improved landing parachute will provide the LDSD the tools necessary to reduce its speed as it is lowered to the surface. NASA will begin Testing on the LDSD and its newest technology will start in June and will continue to be throughout 2015. This project will focus on reducing the LDSD’s sypersonic speeds of Mach 3.5 or more, to a much slower speed of Mach 2, begore releasing it’s revoluntionalry balloon like structure. This reduction in speed will not only bring NASA one step closer to Mars but also increases the NASA’s landing accuracy for future scheduled missions.
The LDSD, with its flying saucer shape and parachute assisted landing will be the first of its kind and will continue to evolve as the technologies it is equipped with changes and progresses. The parachute to be deployed must be sturdy enough to not tear once deployed. The size of the parachute alone is reason enough to test its safety more than one time. The LDSD’s parachute will undergo its first test in June 2015 over the Pacific Ocean off the island of Hawaii. A subsequent test is then scheduled again for the following Summer. NASA continues to develop advanced technologies that can only further improve the LDSD and other project technology. future products to that can only enhance NASA in its journey to move one step closer to Mars.
NASA will continue to develop and use advanced technologies intended to further improve the LDSD as well as other projects that are in the pipeline. The flying saucer technology is the first of its kind and may revolutionize the future missions in their ability to land in unstable atmospheres and on another planet surface. For now the Flying Saucer is the future of NASA and its technology to get us one step closer to landing on Mars. Assuming that all goes as planned and nothing unexpected occurs with LDSD’s upcoming tests, NASA would like to begin full missions to Mars in 2020.
By Cher Bergeron
Photo By: NASA.JPL-Caltech