Watch NASA’s ‘flying saucer’ spin in the upper reaches of our atmosphere

See the original posting on The Verge

NASA is testing a “flying saucer” designed to land on Mars and deliver large payloads to the Red Planet, and the agency has released a spectacular video of a high-altitude test conducted over Hawaii this past June. In it, the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) is brought up 180,000 feet high into earth’s atmosphere, a place where conditions are similar to those on Mars. After confirming that the vehicle could fly in these conditions, NASA then tried to slow the craft down with two new technologies — a funky, donut-shaped “Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator” and a massive supersonic parachute. You can see in the video what happened next.

The saucer-shaped vehicle is unique because of its very high drag. NASA hopes that…

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