Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Mars voyage 'saucer' to be tested

Nasa is preparing to launch a saucer-shaped vehicle into Earth's atmosphere in an experimental flight designed to land heavy loads on Mars.

For decades, robotic landers and rovers have hitched a ride to the red planet using the same parachute design. But Nasa needs a bigger and stronger parachute if it wants to send astronauts there.

Weather permitting, a high-altitude balloon will carry the test vehicle on Tuesday from the Hawaiian island of Kauai to 23 miles over the Pacific where it will be dropped. Then the vehicle will fire its rocket and climb to 34 miles. The environment at this altitude is similar to Mars's thin atmosphere.

As the vehicle falls to Earth, a giant parachute should pop out and guide it to an ocean landing.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph