To bring machines to Mars, the POT has been deploying various landing methods which over the years have included airbagsparachutes and jetpacks.
In fact, spectacular high definition images Captured last year showed how the space agency deployed parachutes and jetpacks to bring its Perseverance rover safely to the surface of the Red Planet.
Now, the Mars team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in southern California is testing a fourth method of getting craft to the Martian surface: using a deliberate crash landing.
A video (below) released this week shows the JPL team testing their Simplified High Impact Energy Landing Device (SHIELD) lander concept, which could offer future mission planners an inexpensive way to get to Mars.
As you can see from the images, SHIELD uses a collapsible, accordion-like base to absorb the energy of a crash landing.
In the test, SHIELD was sent hurtling toward the ground from the top of a nearly 90-foot-tall (27-meter-tall) tower. To fully test the integrity of the design, SHIELD landed on a steel plate to ensure the impact would be even more difficult than what he would experience on Mars.
While SHIELD may not be ideal for bringing something as large and delicate as a car-sized rover to the surface of Mars, the method could certainly be used to bring a smaller, more robust scientific apparatus to the distant planet.
As JPL continues to test and refine SHIELD, we hope it won’t be long before we hear about a mission to Mars that plans to actually deploy the device.