The thermal shield "Mars 2020" is ready for a collision with the atmosphere of the Red Planet

The space agency NASA is actively preparing forhis mission "Mars 2020". It is assumed that in February 2021, the same-name spacecraft will reach the Red Planet and go through the most dangerous phase of the mission - a collision with the atmosphere. All this will occur at a speed of 19,300 kilometers per hour, so a special shield will be required to protect the rover from hot air. It has already been created by Lockheed Martin and has been successfully tested.

The width of the ablation shield reaches 4.5 meters,therefore, landing on Mars will be like never a difficult task. Even with many years of experience, the space agency and the manufacturing company had to conduct a series of rigorous tests to make sure that the shield was able to withstand both thermal and thermomechanical loads.

To assess the reliability of the vacuum were usedpumps that modulate a load of 63,500 kilograms. At the same time, researchers monitored the state of the shield using digital image correlation technology. For this, the surface of the shield was plastered with a special vinyl film, the traces on which allowed us to create a three-dimensional map of its deformation under load. This approach made it possible to follow the changes in the entire area of ​​the shield, and not only in certain areas of it.

We have used this method in the past.photogrammetry on test products, but this is the first successful implementation on official flight equipment. This technology will allow us to protect equipment during testing, but, more importantly, will provide data to improve our design and analysis tools.

Sotiris Kellas, NASA aeronautical engineer

Read more about the beginning of the active testing phase.Rover can be read in our material. The researchers literally check every bolt, because the spacecraft will have to go through “7 minutes of horror”.

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