NASA Mars Landing Craft Idea Is More Than Just Child’s Play

Artist's conception of the futuristic  Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) entering the atmosphere of Mars. Credit: NASA

Artist’s conception of the futuristic Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) entering the atmosphere of Mars. Credit: NASA

Assuming we can get humans all the way to Mars, how the heck do we land them on the Red Planet? The challenge is the atmosphere of Mars is very thin, making parachutes tricky. Heavier payloads require unique ideas to get them on the surface, such as the wild ride we saw for the Curiosity rover.

Since humans and their cargo would have much more mass, one of the ideas NASA is exploring is something called the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD). And here’s the surprising thing — it looks a little like those donut toys that small children play with.

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Read the rest of NASA Mars Landing Craft Idea Is More Than Just Child’s Play (252 words)


© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2015. |
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