How can NASA put a two-story building on Mars? Its very own flying saucer. (+video)Submitted by emalvini on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 15:50
NASA's LDSD project aims to develop the capacity to land larger payloads on Mars, perhaps even humans. But first, NASA needs a way to decelerate capsules traveling at supersonic speeds.
By Daniel B. Wood, Staff writer | April 10, 2014
PASADENA, CALIF. - The Jet Propulsion Laboratory here – one of NASA’S leading research and development centers – gave journalists a peek at the future Wednesday. Get out your notebooks and scratch out the words, “flying saucer” and put in, “Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator” (LDSD).
That’s what they’re calling the new, rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle they will be propelling into near-space this June from the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The purpose: to investigate how to land on Mars with bigger payloads.
NASA's LDSD aims to to slow down the descent of a large payload at supersonic speeds through the thin atmosphere of a planet like Mars by creating atmospheric drag.