NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California successfully tested a parachute that opens at supersonic speeds on Tuesday. Launched on board a Black Brant IX sounding rocket, the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment, or ASPIRE, could pave the way for the Mars 2020 mission. A new type of rover used during the Mars 2020 mission is designed to prepare samples of Martian rocks for transport back to Earth. In order to land safely after entering the atmosphere of the Red Planet at more than 12,000 mph, the parachute will snap open at 1.8 times the speed of sound. An almost identical parachute was used to deposit the Mars Science Laboratory on Mars in 2012.
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