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ESA's Mars Rover has a Bummer of a Parachute Problem

Accepted submission by martyb at 2019-08-13 02:23:35
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ESA's Mars Rover has a Bummer of a Parachute Problem [cnet.com]:

ESA [European Space Agency] shared the news Monday of an "unsuccessful high-altitude drop test [esa.int]." The rover, named Rosalind Franklin [soylentnews.org] for the DNA pioneer, is meant to be gently lowered down to Mars with the help of two main parachutes attached to a descent module.

[...]Those two parachutes each have a smaller pilot chute that helps deploy the bigger chutes, one of which would be the largest ever flown on a Mars mission with a diameter of 115 feet (35 meters). That parachute passed a low-altitude drop test in 2018, but a high-altitude drop test for all four parachutes in May didn't work out as planned.

A test last May saw successful deployment of the main chute, but they were also damaged by the test. ESA tried again last week, and the ESA experienced yet again damage to the main parachute.

They could always fall back on lithobraking [wikipedia.org]. =)


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