Testing parachutes for future Mars missions • Earth.com

Last update: August 20th, 2019 at 9:00 am

Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features the National Research Council wind tunnel in Ottawa, Canada, where a subsonic parachute is being tested.

The new parachute design is a candidate for slowing a mission to Mars.

While single parachute systems have been used up until now, a double parachute system will enhance the trajectory control of future Mars missions.

A supersonic parachute is deployed for the initial slowdown, followed by a larger subsonic parachute for the descent phase.

The UK company Vorticity Systems has performed testing on many subsonic parachute shapes with support from ESA’s Technology Development Element.

“This was a very challenging project involving many tests at different facilities” said Luca Ferracina, who is overseeing the work for ESA.

“We collected an enormous amount of data to help us to better understand the behaviour and performance of many parachute types. This information will be key to designing future parachutes for Mars along with other planets such as Venus, Neptune and Uranus.”

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Image Credit: European Space Agency


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