Space Trending

Private Mars landing mission aims to beat SpaceX

Mueller said the size and shape of the capsule will be the same as that used for the InSight mission. “It’s like using the same type of heat shield material, the exact same parachute design,” he said. “So we’re just using what NASA has already done a lot of analysis and proven on every mission of this size that’s been to Mars successfully.”

The lander will be the size of InSight but lighter, Mr. Muller said. The basic configuration will also not include solar panels and will not function for long until its battery is depleted.

Mueller said Impulse began talking with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, which manages the InSight mission, this year.

However, a spokesman for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said there was not much work to be done between the laboratory and Impulse. “It looks like we’ve had some preliminary discussions with Impulse about this,” said spokesman Andrew Good. “But while they were looking to meet us this year, that meeting hasn’t happened yet.”

Eric Ianson, the director of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, said through a spokesman at the agency’s headquarters that NASA had no direct communication with Impulse and that the company was not aware of the specifics of what it was trying to do.

Relativity isn’t the only private space company to announce a planetary exploration mission.

In 2020, Rocket Lab said it was planning to send a small craft in 2023 that would fly by Venus and drop a probe to see if the dense atmosphere might contain signs of life. It also has a modest NASA contract to launch two smaller orbiters to Mars in early 2024. But Rocket Lab already has 25 successful launches of its tiny Electron rocket, and last month it sent CAPSTONE, another smaller NASA-funded mission, toward the Moon. , (It’s supposed to get there in November.)

A few years ago, SpaceX also had modest Mars plans, which were later abandoned.

In 2016, the company announced that a version of its Crew Dragon astronaut capsule — without any human passengers — was to travel to the Martian surface as soon as 2018. In 2017, SpaceX canceled these plans after calling it Red Dragon. The design of the capsule to splash down at sea, rather than using a rocket engine to be installed on land. (Water landing on Mars does not work where there is no running water.)

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.