(PCM) NASA has revealed plans to test a flying saucer-shaped craft on Thursday of this week. If all goes according to plan the special saucer-shaped craft would be a key component in setting up the very first human mission to the planet Mars.
CNN reveals that a test flight for the craft was originally set to take place on Tuesday of this week, however inclement ocean conditions led to their decision to postpone the testing until later this week. Those who reside in certain areas of Hawaii should be able to see the test flight as it takes place on Thursday morning at 7:30a.m.
CNN further details that if the weather conditions are considered favorable at the time of the test flight than an large balloon will lift the test saucer called a Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, or LDSD, to a height of 120,000 feet, or more than 20 miles (32 kilometers), above Earth. There will also be a live video feed from inside the saucer from which NASA scientists will be able to pioneer the craft, however people will also be able to visit NASA’s website to view the footage live as well.
A similar mission was put to the test several years ago, however the deployment of a parachute attached to the saucer did not work as anticipated. The new LDSD will be equipped with a Supersonic Ringsail Parachute which has already been tested for use on Mars.
In order for human exploration to take place on Mars a spacecraft needs to be able to safely land on the planets’ surface, the parachute attached to the saucer-shaped craft would create enough atmospheric drag to slow down the craft and allow it to land safely and stay for a longer period of time.
After the upcoming test flight this week, NASA says that they are planning for a third test flight which will take place sometime during the summer of 2016.