none

REACHING MARS IN 2020 ISN’T FAST ENOUGH FOR SPACEX

01-05-2016
by 
in 

Not content with the pace of progress, startup SpaceX has revised their predictions for an unmanned Mars landing, aiming to land their Dragon craft as soon as 2018.

Despite being vague on details, the company has hinted at upcoming tests of the Red Dragon craft, a modified version of the Dragon spacecraft that it currently uses to shuttle goods and material to and from the International Space Station.

The Red Dragon has a large problem to overcome, however. It’s not getting to Mars that’s the problem: it’s landing safely.

Unlike Earth’s, Mars’s atmosphere is very thin (about 1/100th the density), meaning slowing and landing any sort of craft (via gliding or ablative cushioning) becomes much harder.

Several solutions have come up, but the solution Red Dragon currently sports is propulsive landing, or using rockets to slow its descent in a controlled manner. This does increase the fuel load of the ship, but is much more feasible than the inflatable lander that has previously been tested.

In the long-term, SpaceX’s goal is to colonise Mars, but it’s producing plenty of fascinating engineering challenges (and answers) in the meantime. 

Related news & editorials

  1. 16.07.2018
    16.07.2018
    by      In
    Available now from RS Components, the latest range of thermal imaging tools from FLIR includes an advanced thermal imaging camera along with a wide selection of new handheld multifunction tools.
    The FLIR E53 is the new entry level product in the FLIR professional range of handheld cameras, which... Read More
  2. 16.07.2018
    16.07.2018
    by      In
    Available now in Australia from Mouser Electronics, the TE Connectivity AmbiMate MS4 series sensor module combines four core sensors on a single PCB assembly for easy integration in a variety of building automation, lighting, and smart home applications. AmbiMate sensor modules are pre-engineered... Read More
  3. 13.07.2018
    13.07.2018
    by      In
    RS Components has added a compact low-cost high-performance infra-red temperature sensor to its RS Pro range. At just 31mm diameter by 30mm high with a side-entry cable the sensor is ideal for mounting in machines where space is tight.
    The noncontact infra-red sensor is ideal in applications where... Read More
  4. 13.07.2018
    13.07.2018
    by      In
    Rated for Class 1 clean room use, Treotham’s highly flexible networking cables from Cicoil are free from halogens, do not shed surface particulates, are ideal for cryogenic environments and are excellent for use in semiconductor manufacturing equipment applications. In addition, the contamination-... Read More