NASA Mars test called success, despite torn chute

We had a successful tear in the chute.


LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — NASA engineers said Friday that a test of a vehicle they hope to one day use on Mars achieved most of its objectives, despite a parachute that virtually disintegrated the moment it deployed.

The engineers laid out at a news conference what they’ve learned in the six weeks since the $150 million high-altitude test of a vehicle that’s designed to bring spacecraft, and eventually astronauts, safely to Mars.

Engineers said they achieved the main objective: getting a flying saucer-shaped craft to 190,000 feet (57,900 meters) above the Earth at more than four times the speed of sound under test conditions that matched the Martian atmosphere.

“The vehicle did an amazing job of getting to the right speed and altitude,” said Ian Clark, principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

As the craft prepared to fall back to Earth, a doughnut-shaped tube around it expanded, creating…

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