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NASA prepares for second ‘flying saucer’ test



The space agency will be testing out its futuristic Mars landing system over Hawaii this week.
While NASA’s sky crane mechanism was successful in lowering the Curiosity rover on to the surface of Mars back in 2012, landing the modules necessary for human habitation on the Red Planet is going to require something a lot bigger and a lot stronger.

The Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) was designed specifically with this in mind.

Consisting of a rocket-powered platform and a large inflatable saucer-shaped device known as the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator, the system is designed to lower payloads of up to three tons safely on to the surface of Mars with the help of a super-strong parachute.