ASPIRE (Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment) became the first successful parachute launch of the MARS 2020 mission. This parachute Mars rover mission set to launch in 2020 will find out the signs of life on the red planet by investigating proof in place and by catching drilled samples of Mars rocks for potential future return to Earth, according to NASA.
Landing on Mars is challenging and not always successful. However, well-designed advance testing helps. On 14 October 2017 in the early morning, NASA launched a Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket with Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment. NASA conducted the launch from its mid-Atlantic Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The goal of the short suborbital mission is the trial of the parachute that will be going to slow down the Mars 2020 rover as it comes in for landing at 5.4 kmps. The process of preparation for this mission has provided, for the first time, dramatic video of the parachute opening at supersonic speed.
Mr Ian Clark (NASA/JPL) in a recent press release said that “It is quite a wild ride.” “The imagination of our first parachute inflation is almost as magnificent to behold as it is scientifically significant.” The second-stage and onboard cameras give us a fantastic view of just when the spacecraft rushing towards the Red Planet looks like as it unfolds its parachute.
This is not an ordinary parachute. Landing on Mars is challenging, as the fragile Martian atmosphere is just considerable enough that engineers have to take it into deliberation. The massive parachute, made of nylon, Technora, and Kevlar, will deploy at nearly 100 mph.
The Black Brant IX rocket carried ASPIRE to an apogee of 32 miles (51 kilometres). Onboard sensors activated 42 seconds later at an altitude of 26 miles. While the craft had reached 1.8 times the speed of sound, the sensors were signalling that the exterior atmospheric conditions and speed had been met to imitate Martian atmospheric entry, and the parachute deployed. Just 35 minutes after launch, Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment splashed down 34 miles southeast of Wallops in the Atlantic Ocean.
A nuclear-powered, SUV-sized rover like to Curiosity, the Mars 2020 rover will be going to target questions of past habitability specifically and whether life ever existed on Mars. Launching in July 2020, the Mars 2020 rover will target one of three landing sites slated for possible selection next year.
Parachute is a crucial component of the complicated landing process. The recent success of ASPIRE follows less successful tests of NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator. in 2014, LDSD’s parachute pulverised shortly after deployment during balloon tests launched from Kauai, Hawai’i.
NASA has a wonderful track of landing on Mars, in eight total attempts they just lost only one lander. But the difficulties in the past are the reason why engineers test hardware here on Earth, then check it again.