Space Exploration Mission Current Affairs

ASPIRE: NASA successfully tests supersonic Mars landing parachute

NASA has successfully conducted Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) to test supersonic parachute that will help its space exploration missions to land on Mars. The parachute was launched aboard of sounding rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in US. It was tested in sky, mimicking conditions of entering red planet.

Key Facts

The test of ASPIRE was meant to mimic conditions that spacecraft will experience during red planet entry, descent and landing (EDL). Shortly after liftoff, ASPIRE splashed down into Atlantic Ocean, from where it was retrieved by boat. Analysis of recovered parachute, and data gathered by cameras and other instruments will help researcher’s complete design of the chute for NASA’s 2020 Mars rover.


NASA’s ambitious Mars rover mission is set to launch in 2020 to deploy six-wheeled vehicle on martian surface to study rocks on site and cache samples for eventual return to Earth. It will rely on special parachute to slow spacecraft down when it is entering Martian atmosphere at over speed of 12,000 mph (5.4 kilometers per second). The six-wheeled rover body is based heavily on NASA’s earlier Curiosity Mars rover.


InSight Mission: NASA’s first mission to explore deep interior of Mars

NASA will send first-ever mission named as InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) dedicated to exploring the deep interior of Mars.

InSight will be stationary lander that will be launched in May 2018. It will be first NASA mission since the Apollo moon landings to place seismometer, a device that measures quakes on the soil of another planet.

InSight Mission

InSight is NASA’s Discovery Program mission that aims to place stationary lander equipped with seismometer and heat transfer probe on surface of Mars to study red planet’s early geological evolution. It is terrestrial planet explorer that will address one of most fundamental issues of planetary and solar system science. It will help in understanding processes that shaped rocky planets of inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago. The robotic lander will perform a radio science experiment to study internal structure of Mars by deploying seismometer and a burrowing heat probe. It will measure Mar’s vital signs such as pulse (seismology), temperature (heat flow probe) and reflexes (precision tracking). It will let scientists understand how different its crust, mantle and core are from Earth.