Dr. Ethiraj Venkatapathy – Mary Poppins Approach to Human Mars Mission EDL

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NASA Ames Research Center Director’s Colloquium, June 17, 2014, Moffett Field, California. NASA is investing in a number of technologies to extend Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) capabilities to enable Human Missions to Mars. These technologies will also enable robotic Science missions.

Human missions will require landing payloads of 10’s of metric tons, not possible with today’s technology. Decelerating from entry speeds around 15,000 miles per hour to landing in a matter of minutes will require very large drag or deceleration. The one way to achieve required deceleration is to deploy a large surface that can be stowed during launch and deployed prior to entry.

This talk will highlight a simple concept similar to an umbrella. Though the concept is simple, the size required for human Mars missions and the heating encountered during entry are significant challenges.

The mechanically deployable system can also enable robotic science missions to Venus and is also equally applicable for bringing back cube-satellites and other small payloads. The scalable concept called Adaptive Deployable Entry and Placement Technology (ADEPT) is under development and is the focus of this talk.

The NASA Ames Director’s Colloquium Summer Series was presented by the Office of the Chief Scientist as part of the Center’s 75th anniversary celebration.

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Date: August 18, 2015

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