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Right now NASA is working on its low-density supersonic decelerator (LDSD) project. This project even includes a genuine flying saucer, which would transport astronauts from our blue planet to the surface of the red planet.

With interest in outer space starting to pick up again, NASA is doubling down its efforts to send humans to Mars by focusing on a BIG plan: have humans on the moon by 2035.

That might seem like a long way off, but considering NASA is going to have to build a ship larger than anything they have ever made, they still have a lot of work to do.

Many of you are probably thinking, why not use the same style of ship that landed the Curiosity on Mars? The truth is that this mission is much harder.

Transporting and landing humans on the red planet is a lot different than landing a robot. First off, the size of the spacecraft is vastly different. Second, the craft would have to land differently, basically...a lot slower.

Because of this, NASA is trying new technologies with their LDSD project to ensure the safest and best way of slowly landing a spacecraft after it has entered the red planet’s atmosphere.

This new technology is essentially is a flying saucer, or at least a body that is shaped like one that even includes a giant blow-up tube that surrounds the craft. This bizzarre looking contraption is called the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD), and loks like something out of a Ray Bradbury novel.

With this new technology, it will only be a matter of time before we start seeing giant saucers flying through the sky. Only this time they won't be Unidentified Flying Objects, we'd know that it was us, the aliens that hope to live on Mars.


The Team Behind The LDSD Project

Landing Projections For The LDSD

LDSD Preparing For A Test Flight

Updating decades-old technology

Last year, when the LDSD was tested for the first time -- also launched from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range facility in Kauai, Hawaii -- the deployment of the parachute was the only problem, when it didn't inflate as expected.

This time around, a new design is being tested: the Supersonic Ringsail parachute, which NASA says is the largest supersonic parachute ever tested for landing on Mars.

Current technology for the task -- decelerating from high speeds during re-entry into the atmosphere, to the final stages of landing on Mars -- dates back to NASA's Viking Program, which put two landers on the Martian surface in 1976.

The basic Viking parachute design has been used ever since. It was successfully used again in 2012 to deliver the rover Curiosity to Mars.

NASA will need new and improved landing technologies to handle the larger spaceships of tomorrow and land them on rocky surfaces, as well as at higher elevations.


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