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NASA to conduct Mars 'flying saucer' test on Earth

NASA is getting ready to launch a "flying saucer" into Earth

MGN Online

LOS ANGELES (AP) - NASA is getting ready to launch a "flying saucer" into Earth's atmosphere to test technology that could be used to land on Mars.

For decades, NASA has depended on the same parachute design to slow spacecraft after they enter the Martian atmosphere. But it needs a larger and stronger parachute if it wants to land heavier objects and astronauts.

On Wednesday, weather permitting, a balloon carrying the saucer-shaped vehicle is set to launch from Hawaii. Then the vehicle will ignite its rocket engine and climb to 34 miles. It will inflate a tube to slow itself down from supersonic speeds and unfurl a parachute for a water landing.

Engineers will analyze the data to determine if the test was successful. The test has been postponed several times because of winds.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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