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


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 earths 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. NASA hopes that using a high-drag vehicle will allow it to expend less fuel during descent.

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