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NASA Rocket Launch Tests Supersonic Parachute for Mars Rover Landings

The Mars 2020 rover mission is scheduled to launch in July/August 2020 when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing on Mars

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NASA to launch satellite tracking Earth's melting ice on Saturday Pixabay
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NASA has launched a sounding rocket from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to test a supersonic parachute for landing its next rover on Mars.

The rocket launched on Friday carried the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

The payload descended by parachute and splashed-down in the Atlantic Ocean 28 miles from Wallops Island, NASA said.

The parachute was successfully recovered and returned to Wallops for data retrieval and inspection.

The suborbital launch was designed to mimic conditions that the parachute might experience during a Mars landing, Space.com reported.

NASA Mars
The parachute was successfully recovered and returned to Wallops for data retrieval and inspection. VOA

“This is really a strength test of that Mars 2020 (rover) design,” Jeremy Hill, a mechanical engineer at JPL, was quoted as saying during a webcast of the launch.

“We want to get as close to the Martian environment as we can.”

The payload is a bullet-nosed, cylindrical structure holding a supersonic parachute, the parachute’s deployment mechanism, and the test’s high-definition instrumentation — including cameras — to record data.

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The Mars 2020 rover mission is scheduled to launch in July/August 2020 when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing on Mars.

The mission takes the next step in addressing questions about potential for life on Mars by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself. (IANS)

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NASA Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary

NASA began operations on Oct. 1, 1958

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NASA Administrator James Bridenstine delivers remarks as he tours the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. VOA

NASA chiefs going back 30 years have come together to mark the space agency’s 60th anniversary.

Five former NASA administrators joined current boss Jim Bridenstine in Orlando on Monday. It was the largest gathering ever of NASA heads and included every administrator since 1989. The conference was arranged by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

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NASA’s Opporutnity Rover. Flickr

The longest-serving administrator, Daniel Goldin of the 1990s, told Bridenstine there’s more to the company than human spaceflight and that the science and technology programs can help draw more public support.

Richard Truly of the post-Challenger shuttle era agreed, but noted humans need to explore.

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It was the largest gathering ever of NASA heads. Pixabay

Bridenstine, meanwhile, ran down NASA’s latest plans for sending astronauts back to the moon.

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Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin was present for the panel discussion.

The Company  began operations on Oct. 1, 1958. (VOA)

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