NASA sets record with supersonic parachute for Mars 2020 mission

NASA said Friday its Mars 2020 parachute is ready for duty.

'And let me tell you, it looks attractive'. "On Sept. 7, NASA's Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) project broke a record when its rocket-launched parachute deployed in 4-10ths of a second-the fastest inflation of this size chute in history", said the video's description.

Last month, the 180-pound parachute, plus a camera created to watch it deploy, was launched on a sounding rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The Mars 2020 rover parachute is made from nylon, Technora and Kevlar fibers. NASA had a staggering amount of $2.4 billion for its mission, and they got themselves the best parachute that money could buy for landing the invaluable rover swiftly to Red Planet aka the Mars' surface. Parachute for Mars successfully passed the test, according to the official website of the Agency.

This created a peak load of almost 70,000lbs of force, according to NASA, earning it a record for the fastest inflation of a parachute this large.

While one of these was nearly an exact copy of the parachute used for NASA's Mars Science Lab, the other had stronger materials and stitching.

The eight-episode series "On a Mission" launches today, letting subscribers follow along with the InSight lander as it travels hundreds of millions of miles through space in the hopes of landing on Mars on November 26.

The 37,000-kg load was the highest ever survived by a supersonic parachute. On Board was the payload, separated from the camera, before he returned to Earth.

With the ASPIRE tests complete, the endeavors of Clark and his compatriots will be confined to the lower part of the stratosphere for the time being.

"We are all about helping 2020 stick its landing 28 months from now", said Clark.

Jet Propulsion Lab, which handles the project, says that management has convened and given ASPIRE the green light to join the Mars 2020 mission.

NASA's next-generation Mars 2020 rover is based on the proven design of the Curiosity rover, but it'll be the space agency's heaviest rover, weighing 2,314 pounds (1,050 kilograms).

Vanessa Coleman