The US space agency, NASA, is preparing to solve the problem of landing humans on Mars, by creating a large heat shield similar to a flying saucer, which will be launched into low Earth orbit this week, and once there, the flight test will be in low Earth orbit for a decelerator. (LOFTID), before descending back to Earth.
According to the British newspaper, “Daily Mail”, NASA hopes that the test will demonstrate how the heat shield can act as a giant brake to slow down a future Mars spacecraft.
The technology is scheduled to be launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Wednesday (November 9) from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, along with the polar-orbiting JPSS-2 satellite, once JPSS-2 is in orbit. The heat shield will be launched and placed on a re-entry path from low Earth orbit to test its ability to slow down and survive again.
If the test is successful, it could be crucial to helping NASA reach its ambitious goal of launching humans on the Red Planet in the next decade.
“This technology can support landing crews and large robotic missions on Mars, as well as returning heavy payloads to Earth,” the US space agency added.
When it comes to atmospheric destinations, including Mars, Venus, Titan and Earth, one of the main challenges NASA faces is how to deliver the heavy payloads.