NASA Tests 'Flying Saucer' To Deliver Probes To Mars
Nasa needs more than just parachutes to slow down heavy probes entering the Martian atmosphere, to say nothing of human-scale mission payloads.By Evan Thomas | June 3, 2015
NASA is gearing up for its second flight test of the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, or LDSD, because we don't wanna try to say that full name five times fast. But let's just call it what it is — a flying saucer.
The inflatable ring does look a bit like pop culture’s idea of an alien spacecraft, but it serves a very real purpose: NASA wants to use it to help slow down probes on their way to the surface of Mars. (Video via NASA)
NASA had originally scheduled a Tuesday test, but has since postponed it to Thursday due to rough seas that could complicate splashdown and recovery efforts.