NASA no longer believes in conventional landing and is committed to building a shield to reach Mars

NASA has made significant progress in Mars exploration with its innovative landing concept, SHIELD (Simplified High Impact Energy Landing Device). This experimental design represents a Radical change in landing method On Mars, a technology that more closely resembles A “controlled accident” Than a soft landing. Instead of slowing the spacecraft’s high-speed descent, SHIELD will use a collapsible accordion-like base, acting like a car’s crumple zones to absorb the energy of a hard impact. This approach could dramatically reduce the cost of landing on Mars, simplify the complex entry, descent, and landing process, and expand options for potential landing sites.

Lou Giersch, manager of the SHIELD project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), noted in a statement that the concept could allow Landing in the most dangerous areas of Mars, where you wouldn’t risk landing a billion-dollar rover with the current landing system. SHIELD’s ability to land in isolated inaccessible locations could be key to creating a network of missions to the surface of Mars, opening up new possibilities for exploring the Red Planet.

Motivation in sample return

The design was partly inspired by the work done for sample return campaign NASA of Mars. The project involves the Perseverance rover collecting rock samples in airtight metal tubes, which will then be returned to Earth in a small capsule that will land in a controlled manner in a desert location. According to Velibor Ćormarkovic, a member of the SHIELD team at JPL, exploring the methods of this process led engineers to wonder whether the general idea could be applied inversely to Mars.

To test the theory, the team needed to show that SHIELD can protect sensitive electronics During landing. They used a falling tower at JPL to test how Perseverance’s sample pipes would withstand a hard landing on Earth. The tower, which measures approximately 90 feet (27 m) tall, has a slingshot launch system that can launch an object against the surface at speeds similar to those achieved during a landing on Mars. The tests conducted for SHIELD are the same Vertical version of the automobile crash testBut the higher impact occurs due to impact against the ground, rather than the wall.

The success of this system was demonstrated on August 12, when the team gathered at the Drop Tower with a full-size prototype of SHIELD’s collapsible attenuator. Inverted pyramid of metal rings that absorb impact, During the test, SHIELD slowly rose to the top of the tower and was then lowered to the ground at a speed of approximately 110 mph (177 kph), the same speed as a lander on Mars after landing near the surface. Reaches. Slowed by atmospheric resistance. despite the impact force of about 1 million newtonsDevices on board, including smartphones, survived the impact, demonstrating the feasibility of the concept. The team’s next step is to design the rest of the lander in 2023 and find out how far this innovative concept can go.

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