Please choose your default site



Who will be the first human settlers on Mars

Heads-up! NASA to test giant Mars parachute in Hawaii

loading video...

Digital writers

Sunday, June 1, 2014, 9:14 PM -

The skies off the Hawaiian island of Kauai will be a stand-in for Mars as NASA prepares to launch a saucer-shaped vehicle in an experimental flight designed to land heavy loads on the red planet. 

For decades, robotic landers and rovers have hitched a ride to Earth's planetary neighbour using the same parachute design. But NASA needs a bigger and stronger parachute if it wants to send astronauts there.

POTENTIAL FOR LIFE ON MARS? Researchers zone in on habitable environment on Mars

Weather permitting, a high-altitude balloon will carry the test vehicle Tuesday from the Hawaiian island of Kauai to 37 kilometres over the Pacific where it will be dropped. Then the vehicle will fire its rocket and climb to 55 kilometres. The environment at this altitude is similar to Mars' thin atmosphere. 

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

SEE ALSO: NASA's Opportunity rover captures incredible views of impact crater on Mars

Cameras rigged aboard the vehicle will capture the action as it accelerates to four times the speed of sound and falls back to Earth. Viewers with an Internet connection can follow along live

For more information about the Space Technology Mission Directorate, click here

We made our own UFO! Take a look at six of the weirdest aircraft ever built!

With files from NASA and The Associated Press

Scientists confirm existence of water history on Mars
Decades-old photos emerge of astronauts training in Hawaii for Apollo missions to the moon
Moncton professor one step closer to moving to Mars

Leave a Comment

What do you think? Join the conversation.
Default saved

Search Location