|Charissa Echavez |||Oct 04, 2016 10:15 PM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) China has tested an experimental, supersonic, low-density parachute for its ambitious Mars mission in summer 2020.
China has tested an experimental, supersonic, low-density parachute, flying it into the upper layer of the Earth's atmosphere in preparation for its ambitious Mars mission in summer 2020, gbtimes reported.
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The parachute reportedly entered the designated close space through a Tianying sounding rocket. The scale parachute is being tested for its technology and performance at altitudes between 33 and 50 kilometers.
The experiment conducted also returned helpful aerodynamic data that could be utilized in testing a full-sized parachute, according to gbtimes.
So far, the test, which was performed by the Academy of Aerospace Solid Propulsion Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, has been declared a "complete success."
However, the parachute is just one step of China's dream to land on the Red Planet. China also needs use other techniques such as retro-thrusters and a landing airbag to make sure that the payloads withstand the risk of spacecraft damage due to friction at high speed.
While Ye Pejian, chief designer of China's ongoing lunar missions, noted that Mars mission and the Chang'e-3 experience, which successfully made a soft landing on the moon in 2013, share some similarities, there are also differences.
The Mars mission will include greater velocities, an atmosphere, and an active planetary surface. When it comes to distance, the moon is much closer to the Earth at 400,000 km, while Mars is estimated to be as far as 400 million kilometers. Thus, preparation is very crucial.
Meanwhile, last month, China's space agency released the first detailed look at three technological components for its Mars mission. Renderings reveal the orbiter, lander, and rover.
China's Mars mission aims to study the soil, environment, atmosphere as well as to check the presence of water and ice on the Red Planet.
The Mars mission is expected to take off in 2020 and to reach Mars in 2021.
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