For the US space agency NASA, Mars missions are of top priority. NASA is getting ready to launch its revolutionary Insight Mars lander mission to the Red Planet. And, at the same time, it has started preparing for its Mars 2020 mission that will be launched in the year.
Reports say that NASA has recently tested its advanced supersonic Mars parachutes for its upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission. The name of NASA’s supersonic parachute is ASPIRE or Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment. On March 31, NASA tested the ASPIRE parachute at its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The parachute was launched or released from an 18-meter-long sounding rocket named Terrier-Black Brant IX and, the outside conditions were made similar to that found on Mars. Space.com reported that the parachute test was meant to mimic the conditions that a spacecraft would experience during its entry, descent, and landing (EDL) on Mars. Minutes after the lift-off, ASPIRE parachute was splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean at a distance of 40 miles from Wallops Island and after that, it was recovered by through a boat.
The ASPIRE launch was delayed several times owing to the rough and violent seas at the parachute’s recovery zone marked in the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, on March 31, the sea became calm and the ASPIRE test was done and according to NASA, the Mars parachute testing was successful. NASA scientists will now analyze the recovered parachute and also the data gathered by the cameras and instruments fitted to the parachute and accordingly, they will design the Mars 2020 rover.
For NASA, Mars 2020 rover mission is very crucial. Hence, it wants to make sure that the rover lands safely on the Martian surface without any damage. Upon reaching Mars, the six-wheeled Mars 2020 rover will study the Martian rocks and will also investigate the Red Planet’s past habitability. Also, NASA is planning to make the enable the rover to collect samples from Mars and bring it back to Earth for study.