A flying saucer, finally

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It is saucer shaped. It can be part of spaceships. And it flies through the air, which is to say that it flies. We can therefore describe it as a flying saucer.

However, it is not capable of flying to the stars or executing aerodynamically impossible maneuvers.

It is an inflatable shield to protect space vehicles from the heat generated by the intense atmospheric friction when, coming from space, they dive at enormous speed into the atmosphere of a planet, and also serves to help reduce their speed.

It is designed to work in the atmosphere of Mars, in that of Titan (a moon of Saturn) and also in that of Earth.

The design of the shield can be adjusted to the needs of each mission.

The test vehicle, which looks like a flying saucer like those flown by aliens visiting Earth in science fiction stories, urban legends and alleged UFO sightings, is called LOFTID (Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator).

The inflated LOFTID, hoisted during an inspection. (Photo: NASA)

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Artist’s impression of LOFTID in Earth orbit. (Illustration: NASA)

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Adapting the concept to the characteristics of each atmosphere, these “flying saucers” will help in the descent of ships on worlds such as Mars or Titan, for example. (Illustration: NASA)

NASA has been working with LOFTID for some time, within the framework of the development of this inflatable heat shield technology.

Such a shield weighs less than conventional shields, is easy to transport folded until use is needed, and, once inflated, can be much larger than the largest conventional transportable shield would be. (Font: NCYT by Amazings)

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Written by Editor TLN

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