This prototype base for SHIELD – a collapsible Mars lander that would enable a spacecraft to intentionally crash land on the Red Planet, absorbing the impact – was tested in a drop tower at JPL on Aug. 12 to replicate the impact it would encounter landing on Mars.

October 20, 2022

This prototype of a collapsible Mars lander base is part of SHIELD (Simplified High Impact Energy Landing Device), a project aimed at developing spacecraft that would intentionally crash land on the Red Planet, using an accordion-like, collapsible base that acts like the crumple zone of a car to absorb the energy of a hard impact. The design could drastically reduce the cost of landing on Mars by simplifying the harrowing entry, descent, and landing process and expanding options for possible landing sites.

Developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, the prototype was attached to a drop tower on Aug. 12, 2022, at JPL.




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