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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid