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Mars NASA Space

NASA's Test Bed For Mars Chute: Kauai 40

An Associated Press story, as carried by the Philadelphia Inquirer, says that NASA plans to test this Tuesday on the Hawaiian island of Kauai a huge (110' diameter) parachute intended as a means to land big loads (like astronauts) on the surface of Mars. Says the story: "The skies off the Hawaiian island of Kauai will be a stand-in for Mars as NASA prepares to launch a saucer-shaped vehicle in an experimental flight designed to land heavy loads on the red planet. For decades, robotic landers and rovers have hitched a ride to Earth's planetary neighbor using the same parachute design. But NASA needs a bigger and stronger parachute if it wants to send astronauts there. ... During the flight, a high-flying balloon will loft the disc-shaped vehicle from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai to 23 miles over the Pacific where it will be dropped. Then it will fire its rocket motor to climb to 34 miles, accelerating to Mach 4. The environment at this altitude is similar to Mars' thin atmosphere. As it descends to Earth, a tube around the vehicle should inflate, slowing it down. Then the parachute should pop out, guiding the vehicle to a gentle splashdown in the Pacific."
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NASA's Test Bed For Mars Chute: Kauai

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  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @11:30PM (#47144621) Journal
    Rather than Ridgecrest, California. I can practically hear the discussion now...

    Scientist 1: So, we need to test this thing. I suppose we could talk to the folks at China Lake. It's nearby and cheap. We can stay at the Motel 6 in Ridgecrest.
    Scientist 2: Yeah, we could do that, or have the Pacific dudes fire it over HAWAII and we get to hang out in Kawaii!!!!
    Scientist 1: But that's expensive.
    Scientist 2: Fuck that - it's HAWAII!!! It's in the USA! Good enough!
    Scientist 1: Yeah, but...
    Scientist 2: But nothin' dude - have you even been to Kawaii?
    Scientist 1: No, but....
    Scientist 2: but nothin' it's awesome. And it beats the living fuck out of Ridgecrest. You ever been to Ridgecrest?
    Scientist 1: Yeah. It's hot. Out in the desert.
    Scientist 2: Yeah, AND IT SUCKS! They have earthquakes like every other day out there. It's a miserable hell hole that's only rivaled by Barstow and Needles.
    Scientist 1: Well, its not pretty, but it is nearby, and I don't think the test cares if we shoot it over Kawaii or Death Valley, really.
    Scientist 2: The test won't but everyone on the team will. Kawaii is fucking AWESOME DUDE!
    Scientist 1: We can meet budget.
    Scientist 2: We can SURF!
    Scientist 1: OK, let's ask another team mate. What do you think?
    Scientist 3: What, do I look stupid? Fuck Ridgecrest - YOLO baby - let's go to Hawaii!!!
    Scientist 1: Sigh....

Loose bits sink chips.