Thursday, 21 March 2019 | 11:29 WIB

Mars 2020 Parachute ready for Launch

Mars Parachute 2020

JAKARTA, NNC - The Mars 2020 Parachute is a go for the next generation Mars explorers mission. NASA will carry a sophisticated parachute that has passed its final test.

When Mars 2020 arrives on the Red Planet, it will work. Fortunately, in a record-breaking test conducted early September 7, NASA confirmed that the parachute was ready to do its job.

The test begins with the launch of a Black Brant IX sounding rocket launch; less than two minutes after its launch, the cargo carrying the parachute separated from the rocket and began to fall back to Earth.

After passing a height of 24 miles (38 kilometers) at a speed of 1,380 mph, a 82-kilogram parachute was released. Only four tenths of a second later, the fastest inflation ever from a large parachute had stretched to its full diameter, creating a peak load of 30,000 kg of force.

That was the second record: the highest load ever survived by a supersonic parachute. On October 3, members of the 2020 Mars mission confirmed that the Nylon-Technora-Kevlar parachute had passed all the tests needed and was ready to leave.

“Mars 2020 will be carrying the heaviest payload yet to the surface of Mars, and like all our prior Mars missions, we only have one parachute and it has to work,” said Mars 2020 Project Manager John McNamee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), citing Astronomy page on Thursday, Nov 11.

Testing the parachute intended for other planets on Earth is indeed complicated, but not impossible while choosing the right conditions, John said.

“Earth's atmosphere near the surface is much denser than that near the martian surface, by about 100 times. But high up — around 23 miles (37 km) — the atmospheric density on Earth is very similar to 6 miles (10 kilometers) above Mars, which happens to be the altitude that Mars 2020 will deploy its parachute,” JPL test technical lead Ian Clark explained.