NASA Parachute Testing

NASA parachute test

Image courtesy of NASA

NASA Parachute Testing
| published May 30,2015 |

By Thursday Review staff

At NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, the world’s biggest wind tunnel is in use making final tests on the parachute to be used in upcoming In Sight missions to Mars, currently scheduled for its maiden launch in March of 2016. If launched into space as planned next spring, In Sight will arrive on Mars in September of 2016 for a thorough investigation on the Martian surface and landscape.

Though In Sight’s mission is primarily geological in nature—the study of soil, rocks, surface elements, moisture, seismic activity, and even a search trace biological evidence—its secondary purpose is to give NASA a better understanding of what to expect when the first manned missions to Mars begin in ten years. In Sight will also give scientists on Earth a close look at the forces which helped shape Mars, Earth, and other planets in our solar system.

The wind tunnel in this photo is 80 feet (24 meters) tall and 120 feet wide, and is able to replicate the powerful wind speeds and external forces a spacecraft can expect to endure upon entry or reentry to the atmosphere of Earth or Mars.

NASA photo courtesy of NASA/JPL/Lockheed Martin.

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