NASA is developing technologies to send humans to the Red Planet.
The agency is working on an inflatable heat shield that allows the large surface area to take up less space in a rocket than a rigid one. The technology could land spacecraft on any planet with an atmosphere. It would expand and inflate before it enters the Martian atmosphere to land cargo and astronauts safely.
In this image, engineers prepare for the flexible heat shield installation on the inflatable structure. The view is from bottom side, and the heat shield is on top.
The technology isn’t ready for the Red Planet just yet. An upcoming flight test of a 6-meter diameter (about 20 feet) prototype will demonstrate how the aeroshell performs as it enters Earth’s atmosphere. The test will prove it can survive the intense heat during entry at Mars.
Image Credit: NASA/Langley Research Center
影像来源：NASA/Langley Research Center