News / Science & Technology

    NASA to Test 'Flying Saucer' for Future Mars Missions

    NASA's LDSD project will be flying a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space this June from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii.
    NASA's LDSD project will be flying a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space this June from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii.

    Related Articles

    'Godzilla of Earths' Exoplanet Discovered

    Kepler-10c weighs 17 times as much as Earth

    Massive Martian Volcano Could Have Hosted Life

    The volcano Arsia Mons, while still active, was covered by an enormous glacier around 210 million years ago

    NASA Observes Moon's Tidal Bulge from Lunar Orbit

    Earth’s gravity is strong enough to create a 51 centimeter-high bulge on both the near and far sides of the moon
    VOA News
    Earthlings have long fantasized about flying saucers from Mars, but in a strange twist, it may be humans that end up launching one to the Red Planet.
     
    Early this month, the U.S. space agency NASA will test what it calls the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator mission, or LDSD. The test will take place high in the Earth’s atmosphere, at altitudes that most resembles the thin Martian atmosphere.
     
    The saucer shaped craft could be the key to future exploration of Mars as it would allow heavier payloads to be delivered to our planetary neighbor.
     
    “Future robotic missions to Mars and even future human exploration will require more massive payloads than previously sent to the surface of the Red Planet,” NASA said in a statement.
     
    The inspiration for the LDSD came, oddly enough, from a sea creature, the Hawaiian pufferfish.
     
    When threatened, the pufferfish is able to rapidly inflate, something NASA researchers hope the LDSD can do to slow heavy cargo as it speeds through the thin Martian atmosphere.
     
    NASA said the current technology for landing spacecraft on Mars dates back to the 1970s and the Viking missions.

    “That same technology is still being used and most recently delivered the Curiosity rover to Mars in 2012,” the agency wrote.
     
    For the test, NASA plans to use a balloon to take the LDSD 120,000 feet into the air. At that altitude, the balloon will have swollen to 34 million cubic feet, or large enough to “fit a professional football stadium inside it.”
     
    At that point, the balloon will detach and a rocket engine will fire the craft up to 180,000 feet at a speed of four times the speed of sound.
     
    From 180,000 feet, the LDSD will begin a free fall. At this point the pufferfish concept will be tested when the the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD) is deployed. The SIAD is a kevlar tube that inflated rapidly, slowing the spacecraft.
     
    Once the disc reaches a safe speed, it will deploy a new kind of supersonic parachute which will allow for a safe landing in the ocean.

    NASA has identified several dates early this month to conduct the test from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: David Menefee
    June 03, 2014 6:35 PM
    Sci-Fi fans, hold onto your jet packs: Pulitzer-nominated author and composer David Menefee has teamed up with master musician Masanori to create "The Man from Mars,” the world's first Mars One tribute song. The gut-wrenching three-minute mini-drama with Techno music embraces a cosmic set-up that rivals Star Wars.

    “It’s 2024. The Mars One mission. Count down. Blast off,” describes Menefee. “In seconds, I am alone in outer space, a pioneer from the human race on a one-way trip to the red planet. Suddenly, I can think of nothing but my greatest love, the girl I left behind . . . forever.”

    Menefee’s and Masanori's “The Man from Mars” song explores love in outer space and what may happen when an astronaut blasts off on the upcoming one-way Mars One mission in 2024. “Love is the greatest thing in the world,” Menefee explains, “but when destiny calls, an astronaut has to be willing to leave behind the greatest love of his or her life. We’ve captured that mood and sentiment in a mesmerizing blend of music, lyrics, and sound effects. Who knows? The song may prove to be prophetic.”

    The third of their musical collaborations, "The Man from Mars" weaves lead and harmony vocals with an ominous twenty-male background chorus entwined into a futuristic fugue that would make Steven Spielberg envious.

    Listen to "The Man from Mars" on YouTube:
    http://youtu.be/bpOS4rStT3E


    by: Geramy S.
    June 02, 2014 4:48 PM
    Is it reverse engineered from a previous landed or crashed extraterrestrial saucer?

    What kind of anti- gravity system is it?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.