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NASA: Test of New Mars Landing Craft a Success

High-altitude balloon carrying saucer-shaped vehicle for NASA is launched to test technology that could be used to land on Mars, Kauai, Hawaii, June 28, 2014.

U.S. space officials are declaring the test flight of a new Mars landing craft a success even if a parachute failed to open fully.

NASA hopes to use the new vehicle in a future manned mission to the red planet.

A helium balloon and motor Saturday carried the huge saucer-shaped craft from the launch pad in Hawaii to more than 36,000 meters over the Pacific, where the atmosphere is as thin as that over Mars.

But the 34-meter-wide parachute that was supposed to guide the craft to an ocean splashdown failed to open completely.

NASA, however, says it is pleased with the results, and says this was a more valuable experience than if everything had gone perfectly.

Some information for this report comes from AP and Reuters.