Tech & Science: NASA has a new, foldable heat shield, and it could be part of a manned Mars mission - PressFrom - United Kingdom
  •   
  •   

Tech & Science NASA has a new, foldable heat shield, and it could be part of a manned Mars mission

12:50  14 september  2018
12:50  14 september  2018 Source:   bgr.com

NASA finally figured out what this ‘foreign object’ on Mars actually is

  NASA finally figured out what this ‘foreign object’ on Mars actually is Despite what so many people would love to believe, NASA hasn't discovered any evidence of past or present intelligent life on Mars. The thin fragment was suspicious enough to warrant its own name, with NASA’s Curiosity rover team calling it the “Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris,” named for the location where it was discovered. With no idea what it was or where it came from, the rover’s handlers began to worry that it might actually be a chunk of the rover itself, suggesting some unseen damage or other issue with the robot. Thankfully, those concerns seem to have been unfounded.

  NASA has a new, foldable heat shield, and it could be part of a manned Mars mission © Provided by BGR A manned mission to Mars is (very) slowly coming together for the folks at NASA. There’s a lot of incredibly specific planning that goes into a mission to another planet, and Mars will give scientists and engineers a long list of challenges to overcome, but there’s one thing that no planet-hopping expedition could do without: a heat shield.


Mankind doesn’t have a whole lot of interest in visiting planets without atmospheres — at least not yet — and when a spacecraft makes its descent to a new planet’s surface they’ll have to deal with the intense friction between the ship and the various gasses that surround the planet. With all that in mind, NASA debuted an entirely new kind of heat shield this week, and it might be a perfect fit for future missions to Mars and beyond.

Hope dwindles as NASA’s Opportunity rover refuses to contact Earth

  Hope dwindles as NASA’s Opportunity rover refuses to contact Earth Time flies when you're trying to message a rover that just won't wake up. The rover, which is over a decade and a half old at this point, was only supposed to last a few months on the Martian surface. It’s since spent over 14 years on the Martian surface, and the original mission timeline has been extended again and again as the rover proved it was up for additional work, but now it’s looking more and more like it might be the end of the road.

As Reuters reports, the new heat shield is called ADEPT, which stands for Adaptable Deployable Entry Placement Technology. That’s just a very fancy way of saying that it’s a heat shield that physically unfolds when needed. The shield, which would be situated on the front of a spacecraft as it enters a planet’s atmosphere, opens like a flower and blocks the intense heat from damaging or destroying the ship itself.

What makes this so special is that, up until now, heat shields were static components of a spacecraft. The entire rest of the spacecraft typically has to be built with the heat shield in mind, and that puts some serious limits on how a manned ship could be designed. With a deployable shield, the ship can essentially be whatever its designers want it to be, and the shield can be deployed to do its job whenever it’s needed.

NASA tested the new heat shield this week, launching its test rocket from New Mexico and monitoring the deployment of the shield as the rocket made reentry. The group hasn’t offered much in the way of details as to how the test went, but that information will be released once NASA has a chance to examine the hardware that made it back to Earth.

NASA solar probe 'alive and well' after first encounter with the sun.
And the Parker Solar Probe's set to get hotter, better, faster than ever.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!