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Friday, February 3, 2023

NASA Plans to Develop an Inflatable Heat Shield for Planets with Thin Atmosphere

The inflatable heat shield is known as the Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID)

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Russell Chattaraj
Russell Chattaraj
Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

UNITED STATES: According to sources, NASA has plans to test a sizable inflatable aeroshell that may be used to securely release huge payloads on Mars and other planets.

The aeroshell will use a sizable inflatable heat shield that will be launched next month and is known as the Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID).

This is based on observations made by humans who discovered that the atmosphere of Mars is less dense than that of the Earth.

As a result, slowing down an aeroplane is difficult, as was shown during the Mars rover landings. It is riskier and needs more protection than on Earth since the atmosphere is too thin to aid in a spacecraft’s steady deceleration.

The deployable LOFTID aeroshell will be launched on a ULA Atlas V rocket on November 1. The 20-foot-tall LOFTID will act as a massive brake mechanism as it flies through the atmosphere. By doing so, it will produce more atmospheric drag than more conventional and compact aeroshells. It is intended to allow spaceships to slow down at higher atmospheric altitudes.

The technology, according to NASA, “will permit” several projected expeditions to places including Mars, Venus, Titan, and Earth itself.

In the demonstration test, LOFTID will expand as it comes down from low-Earth orbit. If everything goes according to plan, the technology can be used to conduct robotic missions to Mars and return heavier packages to Earth.

Although LOFTID won’t eliminate all concerns, it can lessen the danger associated with the descent of precious cargo.

In the initial test, LOFTID will be carried by a balloon. It will then inflate to a certain altitude. A ballute, a hybrid of a balloon and a parachute, will then be deployed to slow it down.

LOFTID will serve as a significant brake for the test instrument as it descends. The LOFTID will then be dropped from the air and retrieved from the ocean before being sent back to NASA for post-test examination.

Future Mars missions may use the large inflatable decelerator known as LOFTID. The spaceship will be slowed down by atmospheric drag, reducing the risk of descent.

Due to its capability to place solar panels in high-Earth orbit, LOFTID may also be utilised for other purposes.

This can be used to power satellites and landers, whether they are controlled by robots or people. It will be fascinating to see the experiment. Hopefully, it can provide NASA with another tool to enhance human space travel.

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Also Read: NASA’s DART Crashes Successfully with Asteroid Dimorphos

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  • Russell Chattaraj

    Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

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