NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Supersonic Parachute is Already Breaking Records

The chute deployed in 4-10ths of a second, the fastest inflation of this size chute, and survived carrying the highest ever load tested on a supersonic parachute!
Loukia Papadopoulos

NASA released a video of its new supersonic parachute for landing the Mars 2020 rover on the Red Planet and not only is it majestic it is also record-breaking. "On Sept. 7, NASA’s Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) project broke a record when its rocket-launched parachute deployed in 4-10ths of a second—the fastest inflation of this size chute in history," said the video's description.

The impressive parachute is a combination of nylon, Technora and Kevlar fibers and it was created by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's ASPIRE project after a thorough series of tests. "Mars 2020 will be carrying the heaviest payload yet to the surface of Mars, and like all our prior Mars missions, we only have one parachute and it has to work," said John McNamee, project manager of Mars 2020 at JPL in a statement.

"The ASPIRE tests have shown in remarkable detail how our parachute will react when it is first deployed into a supersonic flow high above Mars. And let me tell you, it looks beautiful," added McNamee.

But forget how beautiful it is-- by far the coolest thing about this parachute is that it effectively managed to carry the test 67,000-pound (37,000-kilogram) load, the highest ever survived by a supersonic parachute. And it is guaranteed to do well on the Red Planet since that load was 85-percent higher than what scientists would expect the Mars 2020 parachute to encounter.

Bravo NASA!