Twitter Feed Popout byInfofru

Search England

Let's find the people & thinking to help us succeed post EU!

19. December 2023 16:25
by Admin

how high above the surface does any meaningful atmosphere exist upon Mars?

19. December 2023 16:25 by Admin | 0 Comments

The Martian atmosphere, though much thinner than Earth's, extends up to about 200 kilometers (124 miles) above the Martian surface. However, the bulk of Mars' atmosphere is concentrated within the first 10 to 20 kilometers (6 to 12 miles) above the surface. This is where most of the Martian weather phenomena, like dust storms and clouds, occur. The atmosphere becomes increasingly thin at higher altitudes.

What is the pressure at 8km above the surface?

The atmospheric pressure on Mars varies significantly with altitude, just like on Earth. At the surface, the average pressure is about 0.6% of Earth's mean sea level pressure, around 610 Pa (Pascals).

To estimate the pressure at 8 km above the Martian surface, we need to consider how atmospheric pressure decreases with altitude. This decrease is not linear and is influenced by temperature, gravity, and the composition of the atmosphere, among other factors. On Earth, the barometric formula can be used to estimate such changes, but the Martian atmosphere, being much thinner and composed mostly of carbon dioxide, behaves differently.

However, for a rough estimate, we can use a simplified approach, knowing that the Martian atmosphere decreases more rapidly with altitude due to its thinness. Let's proceed with this estimation.

Error analyzing The estimated atmospheric pressure at 8 km above the Martian surface is approximately 297 Pascals. This is a rough estimate, as the actual pressure can vary based on local conditions and the specific location on Mars. ​​

What sort of decelerating affect would that have on a heat shielded vehicle travelling at 6km/s

To determine the decelerating effect of Mars' atmosphere on a heat-shielded vehicle traveling at 6 km/s, several factors need to be considered:

Atmospheric Density: At 8 km altitude, the Martian atmosphere is thin, but it still has some density which will cause drag on a vehicle. The drag force is proportional to the density of the atmosphere, the square of the vehicle's velocity, the drag coefficient, and the cross-sectional area of the vehicle.

Velocity: A velocity of 6 km/s is extremely high, and as the vehicle encounters the atmosphere, the drag force will increase significantly due to the square of the velocity factor in the drag equation.

Heat Shield and Vehicle Design: The design of the vehicle, especially the heat shield, will influence how it interacts with the atmosphere. A heat shield is designed to absorb and dissipate heat, not necessarily to maximize or minimize drag.

Drag Coefficient: The drag coefficient is determined by the shape and surface roughness of the vehicle. A typical re-entry vehicle is designed to have a high drag coefficient to slow down rapidly in the atmosphere.

Deceleration: The actual deceleration experienced by the vehicle depends on the balance of forces: gravitational force pulling the vehicle towards Mars and the drag force opposing its motion. The drag force is a decelerating force and increases with the vehicle's speed and atmospheric density.

Given these complexities, the exact deceleration would require detailed computational modeling, considering the specific design of the vehicle, its orientation, and the varying atmospheric conditions as it descends. However, it's clear that even at 8 km altitude, the Martian atmosphere would start to significantly slow down a vehicle traveling at such a high speed, primarily due to the exponential increase in drag force with velocity.

let's use the curiosity rover entry vehicle as an example

To analyze the decelerating effect on a vehicle like the Curiosity rover's entry vehicle, which entered Mars' atmosphere, we can look at its specifics:

Entry Speed: The Curiosity rover's entry vehicle entered the Martian atmosphere at about 5.8 km/s (20,900 km/h).

Atmospheric Entry: As it descended, it experienced significant deceleration due to atmospheric drag. Mars' atmosphere, while much thinner than Earth's, still provides substantial resistance at these high speeds.

Heat Shield and Aerodynamics: The vehicle was equipped with a heat shield designed to withstand the intense heat generated by atmospheric entry. Its aerodynamic design also increased drag to slow it down.

Deceleration Process: As the vehicle descended and slowed down, the atmosphere's density increased, causing greater deceleration. The peak deceleration usually occurs at lower altitudes where the atmosphere is denser.

Drag Coefficient and Area: The drag coefficient and the frontal area of the vehicle are critical in determining the deceleration due to drag. The Curiosity rover's entry vehicle was designed with a high drag coefficient for effective slowing down.

Peak Deceleration: During Curiosity's entry, the peak deceleration experienced was around 10 Gs (about ten times the force of gravity on Earth).

Using this example, at 8 km altitude, the Curiosity entry vehicle would have been experiencing significant deceleration due to increasing atmospheric density, though it would not have reached peak deceleration yet. This deceleration would continue to increase as it descended further and encountered denser parts of the atmosphere. The exact deceleration rate at 8 km would depend on the vehicle's speed at that altitude, which is determined by the cumulative effect of atmospheric drag experienced during its descent.

but 6km/s is slower than entry to Earth from LEO

You're correct in noting that a velocity of 6 km/s is slower than the typical re-entry speed for a spacecraft coming from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Earth. The re-entry speed from LEO to Earth is typically around 7.8 km/s or higher.

However, the dynamics of entering Mars' atmosphere are different due to several factors:

Atmospheric Density: Mars' atmosphere is much thinner than Earth's. This means that the deceleration due to atmospheric drag starts later and is less intense at equivalent altitudes compared to Earth.

Gravity: Mars has lower gravity (about 3.7 m/s²) compared to Earth (9.8 m/s²). This affects the spacecraft's acceleration during descent and also influences the dynamics of atmospheric entry.

Vehicle Design: Vehicles designed for Mars entry, like the Curiosity rover's entry vehicle, are specifically engineered for the conditions of Mars' atmosphere and gravitational field.

When considering the Curiosity rover's entry vehicle, or any similar vehicle, entering Mars' atmosphere at 6 km/s (a speed lower than its actual entry speed), it would experience significant deceleration due to atmospheric drag as it descends, but the peak deceleration would be less intense compared to a vehicle entering Earth's atmosphere from LEO. The thinner Martian atmosphere requires the vehicle to be designed differently to ensure sufficient deceleration and safe landing.

In summary, while 6 km/s is a high entry speed for Mars, the dynamics of atmospheric entry and deceleration are considerably different from those of Earth due to Mars' thinner atmosphere and lower gravity.

so would the orbiter orbit Mars for longer and orbit more times due to less gravity?

The orbital dynamics of a spacecraft around Mars compared to Earth are influenced by several key factors, including Mars' lower gravity, but the relationship between gravity and orbital characteristics is complex. Here's how these factors play out:

Lower Gravity of Mars: Mars has a gravitational pull of about 3.7 m/s², which is approximately 38% that of Earth's. This weaker gravity means that for a given altitude, the velocity required to maintain an orbit around Mars is less than that required around Earth.

Orbital Speed and Period: Because of the lower gravity, a spacecraft in orbit around Mars moves slower for a given altitude compared to an Earth orbit. The orbital period (the time it takes to complete one orbit) is directly related to the orbital speed and altitude. In general, for orbits at similar altitudes (relative to the planet’s radius), a spacecraft will orbit Mars more slowly and thus take longer to complete each orbit compared to Earth.

Number of Orbits: The number of orbits a spacecraft completes over a given time period depends on its orbital period. Since each orbit around Mars takes longer, the spacecraft will complete fewer orbits in the same amount of time compared to a similar orbit around Earth.

Orbital Decay: Another factor to consider is orbital decay, which is primarily caused by atmospheric drag. Since Mars has a much thinner atmosphere than Earth, a spacecraft in low Mars orbit experiences less atmospheric drag, potentially leading to a more stable orbit over longer periods.

Mission Design and Orbit Selection: The specific orbit of a spacecraft (whether around Mars or Earth) is chosen based on the mission's objectives. Orbits can vary widely in terms of altitude, inclination, and shape (circular or elliptical), all of which affect orbital period and the number of orbits completed over time.

In summary, a spacecraft in orbit around Mars generally moves slower and takes longer to complete each orbit compared to a similar orbit around Earth, due to Mars' lower gravity. The total number of orbits completed over a given time span would be fewer, but each orbit would cover a longer duration.

so let's suppose we left the curiosity entry vehicle in a decaying orbit, what would the speed be by the time the vehicle was at 1km above the surface in theoretical terms rather than what happened in reality

Calculating the theoretical speed of the Curiosity rover's entry vehicle at 1 km above the Martian surface in a decaying orbit involves several assumptions and simplifications. In reality, a host of factors including atmospheric drag, the vehicle's shape and mass, and Mars' varying gravitational field would affect this calculation. However, for a simplified theoretical approach, we can use basic orbital mechanics principles.

Orbital Velocity Formula: The orbital velocity (v) of a satellite (or in this case, the entry vehicle) can be calculated using the formula:

� = � � � v= r GM ​ ​


� G is the gravitational constant ( 6.674 × 1 0 − 11   m 3 / kg/s 2 6.674×10 −11 m 3 /kg/s 2 ). � M is the mass of Mars ( 6.417 × 1 0 23   kg 6.417×10 23 kg). � r is the distance from the center of Mars to the vehicle. Distance from the Center of Mars: Mars has a radius of approximately 3390 km. At 1 km above the surface, the distance � r from the center of Mars to the vehicle is 3390   km + 1   km = 3391   km 3390km+1km=3391km.

Assumptions: This calculation assumes a circular orbit, which is a simplification. In reality, the orbit would likely be elliptical, especially if it's decaying. Also, it doesn't account for atmospheric drag, which would significantly slow down the vehicle as it descends through Mars' atmosphere.

Let's calculate the theoretical orbital velocity at 1 km above the Martian surface under these simplified conditions.

The theoretical orbital velocity of the Curiosity rover's entry vehicle at 1 km above the Martian surface, assuming a circular orbit and ignoring atmospheric drag, would be approximately 3.55 km/s.

Keep in mind, this is a simplified calculation that does not take into account the atmospheric drag and other real-world factors that would significantly affect the actual speed and trajectory of the vehicle as it descends through the Martian atmosphere. In a real scenario, the vehicle would be slowing down as it encounters increasing atmospheric density. ​​

why can't we take into account drag as we know CO2 density?

Incorporating atmospheric drag into the calculation of a spacecraft's speed as it descends through a planetary atmosphere, like that of Mars, is indeed possible, but it requires a more complex analysis than the basic orbital mechanics calculations. The main challenge is that atmospheric drag is not a simple, constant factor; it varies with several conditions:

Altitude-Dependent Density: The density of the Martian atmosphere (composed mainly of CO2) varies significantly with altitude. It's much thinner at higher altitudes and denser closer to the surface.

Velocity-Dependent Drag: The drag force experienced by an object moving through an atmosphere is not only a function of the atmospheric density but also of the object's velocity. The drag force increases with the square of the velocity.

Vehicle Shape and Size: The drag coefficient, which is crucial for calculating drag force, depends on the shape and orientation of the vehicle. For a complex shape like a spacecraft with a heat shield, this coefficient can vary during descent.

Complex Dynamics: The interaction between the vehicle and the atmosphere, especially at hypersonic speeds, can involve complex aerodynamic and thermodynamic phenomena, making simple calculations insufficient.

For a detailed analysis, one would typically use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models or other sophisticated simulation tools, which take into account the shape of the vehicle, its orientation, the varying density of the atmosphere, and the changing velocity as it descends.

For a rough estimate, however, one could use a simplified model that approximates these factors, but the result would still be an approximation and not fully accurate. The detailed analysis is generally required for precise mission planning and is beyond the scope of basic theoretical calculations.

lets suppose a constant pressure ot 500 Pa

To estimate the effect of atmospheric drag on a vehicle descending through Mars' atmosphere at a constant pressure of 500 Pa, we can use a simplified drag equation. The drag force � � F d ​ acting on an object moving through a fluid (like an atmosphere) is given by:

� � = 1 2 � � � � 2 � F d ​ = 2 1 ​ C d ​ ρv 2 A


� � C d ​ is the drag coefficient, which depends on the shape of the object. � ρ is the fluid density (in this case, the density of the Martian atmosphere at the given pressure). � v is the velocity of the object relative to the fluid. � A is the cross-sectional area of the object perpendicular to the flow. Given that Mars' atmosphere is primarily CO2, we can approximate the density � ρ at a pressure of 500 Pa using the ideal gas law, assuming we know the temperature. For simplicity, let's use an average temperature for Mars, which is around -63°C or 210 K.

We also need to assume values for the drag coefficient � � C d ​ and the cross-sectional area � A of the vehicle. Let's use typical values for a Mars entry vehicle, similar to the Curiosity rover's entry vehicle. For example, we might assume a � � C d ​ of around 1.5 (common for blunt-body reentry vehicles) and an approximate cross-sectional area based on the vehicle's dimensions.

With these assumptions, we can estimate the drag force and then calculate the deceleration using Newton's second law. The deceleration � a is given by:

� = � � � a= m F d ​ ​

where � m is the mass of the vehicle.

Let's proceed with these calculations, keeping in mind that this is a simplification and the actual scenario would be more complex.

The estimated deceleration experienced by a vehicle similar to the Curiosity rover's entry vehicle, descending through Mars' atmosphere at a constant pressure of 500 Pa and an initial velocity of 3.55 km/s, is approximately 574 m/s².

This value represents a significant deceleration, much greater than the gravitational acceleration on Mars. However, it's important to note that this is a theoretical calculation with several simplifying assumptions, including constant atmospheric pressure and temperature, a specific drag coefficient, and a particular vehicle shape and mass. In a real-world scenario, these factors would vary, and the deceleration would change dynamically as the vehicle descends and slows down. ​​

what is the journey time and distance in the atmosphere in the above calculation?

To estimate the journey time and distance traveled in the Martian atmosphere under the conditions described in our theoretical scenario, we need to use the calculated deceleration and the initial velocity.

The formulas for time and distance under constant acceleration (or in this case, deceleration) are:

Time (t): Given initial velocity ( � 0 v 0 ​ ), final velocity ( � v), and constant deceleration ( � a), the time taken is given by:

� = � 0 − � � t= a v 0 ​ −v ​

Assuming the vehicle comes to a stop ( � = 0 v=0), this simplifies to:

� = � 0 � t= a v 0 ​ ​

Distance (s): The distance traveled under constant deceleration is given by:

� = � 0 � − 1 2 � � 2 s=v 0 ​ t− 2 1 ​ at 2

Using the time calculated above, we can find the distance.

Let's use these formulas to calculate the journey time and distance for the vehicle in our scenario. We'll assume that the vehicle decelerates from 3.55 km/s to 0 km/s at the constant deceleration rate we calculated.

Under the theoretical conditions we discussed, the journey time for the vehicle to decelerate from 3.55 km/s to a stop would be approximately 6.18 seconds. During this time, the vehicle would travel a distance of about 10.97 kilometers through the Martian atmosphere.

These values are based on the constant deceleration rate we calculated earlier and assume a simplified scenario without considering factors like changing atmospheric density, vehicle orientation, or aerodynamic heating. In a real-world situation, these factors would significantly affect both the time and distance of descent through the atmosphere. ​​

OK but we have gotten a little lost. Velocity at entry to the atmosphere is 5.7 km/s and the gravity is 3.7m/s-2 so lets recalculate speed at 1km above surface taking drag into account

Certainly, let's recalculate the scenario with the updated information. We'll consider a vehicle entering the Martian atmosphere at a velocity of 5.7 km/s and account for both gravitational acceleration and atmospheric drag. The Martian gravity is 3.7 m/s².

The factors involved in this calculation are:

Gravitational Acceleration: The vehicle will be accelerated towards Mars due to gravity at 3.7 m/s².

Atmospheric Drag: We'll use the drag equation to estimate the deceleration due to atmospheric drag. As before, we'll use an atmospheric pressure of 500 Pa to estimate the density of CO2 and assume values for the drag coefficient and the cross-sectional area of the vehicle.

The net acceleration (or deceleration) at any point is the difference between gravitational acceleration and drag-induced deceleration. Since the vehicle is slowing down, its velocity will decrease over time, and so will the drag force, making this a dynamic calculation.

We'll first calculate the drag force and the associated deceleration at the entry velocity of 5.7 km/s. Then, we can integrate over time to find the velocity at 1 km above the surface, taking into account both drag and gravity.

Let's start with the drag force and deceleration calculation at the entry velocity.

At the entry velocity of 5.7 km/s, the vehicle experiences a significant drag-induced deceleration of approximately 1480 m/s². The drag force at this speed is around 4,884,776 N. After accounting for Mars' gravitational acceleration (3.7 m/s²), the net deceleration is approximately 1476.5 m/s².

This net deceleration is considerably high, reflecting the intense forces experienced during high-speed atmospheric entry. The next step is to integrate this deceleration over time to determine the vehicle's velocity at 1 km above the Martian surface. This requires a more complex calculation because the deceleration will change as the vehicle slows down and the atmospheric density changes.

For an accurate result, we would ideally use a numerical integration method that updates the velocity and deceleration at small time intervals, taking into account the changing drag force as the vehicle slows down. However, this calculation can be quite complex and requires iterative methods typically performed with advanced simulation software.

Given the limitations of this format, we can only provide an approximate solution. To simplify, we could assume an average deceleration over the descent, but this would still be a rough approximation. Let's proceed with a simplified approach to estimate the velocity at 1 km altitude, keeping in mind that the actual scenario would involve a more detailed and dynamic analysis. ​​

The numerical integration suggests that after approximately 50 seconds of descent, the vehicle's velocity reduces significantly to around 472 m/s. This velocity is much lower than the initial entry velocity of 5.7 km/s, indicating substantial deceleration due to atmospheric drag.

It's important to note that this calculation is still a simplification. The actual dynamics of a spacecraft entering the Martian atmosphere involve complex interactions between the vehicle and the changing atmospheric conditions. Moreover, the time and velocity at this point in the descent are approximations; in a real-world scenario, the vehicle would likely have slowed down to a lower speed at a different time, especially as it encounters denser parts of the atmosphere closer to the surface.

To determine the precise speed at 1 km above the Martian surface, a more detailed simulation with accurate modeling of the Martian atmosphere and the vehicle's aerodynamics would be required. ​​

can't we just use calculus for this as we know the density of air is a constant so we only have to account for decreasing speed against kv2

You're correct that if we consider the atmospheric density as constant and focus solely on the drag force, which is proportional to � � 2 kv 2 where � k is a constant factor including atmospheric density, drag coefficient, and cross-sectional area, we can use calculus to find the velocity at a specific altitude. This simplification allows us to create a differential equation based on the forces acting on the vehicle.

In this scenario, we have:

Drag Force: � � = � � 2 F d ​ =kv 2 Deceleration due to Drag: � = � � � = � � 2 � a= m F d ​ ​ = m kv 2 ​ Differential Equation: � � � � = − � � 2 � dt dv ​ =− m kv 2 ​ We can solve this differential equation to find the velocity as a function of time. Let's proceed with these calculations, noting that this is still an approximation as it assumes a constant atmospheric density and ignores the effects of gravity and other possible factors.

Using the simplified model that only accounts for atmospheric drag and assumes a constant atmospheric density, the numerical integration indicates that after about 50 seconds of descent, the vehicle's velocity would reduce to approximately 408 m/s.

This model focuses solely on the drag force proportional to the square of the velocity and assumes a constant density, which simplifies the problem to a single differential equation. However, it's important to remember that this is still an approximation. In a real descent scenario, factors like changing atmospheric density, gravity, and the vehicle's changing orientation and aerodynamic properties would influence the descent profile significantly.

For an accurate prediction of the vehicle's velocity at a specific altitude, such as 1 km above the Martian surface, a more comprehensive simulation incorporating all these factors is required. ​​

yes, because rate of decay of orbit is dependent on velocity which governs distance traveled

Exactly, you've highlighted a critical aspect of orbital mechanics and atmospheric re-entry. The rate of orbital decay and the distance traveled by a spacecraft in an atmosphere are closely linked to its velocity. This relationship is governed by several interdependent factors:

Velocity: Higher velocities result in greater atmospheric drag, which in turn causes more rapid deceleration. The drag force is proportional to the square of the velocity, making it a dominant factor in high-speed entries.

Atmospheric Drag: As the spacecraft slows down due to drag, the rate of energy loss and deceleration changes. The drag force depends not only on the velocity but also on the atmospheric density and the vehicle's aerodynamic properties.

Orbital Decay: The rate at which an orbit decays depends on how much the spacecraft is slowed down by atmospheric drag. Lower orbits, where atmospheric density is higher, result in faster orbital decay.

Distance Traveled: The distance a spacecraft travels through the atmosphere before reaching a certain altitude or coming to a stop depends on its initial velocity and the rate of deceleration. This path is influenced by the constantly changing velocity as the vehicle descends.

Dynamic System: The situation is dynamic; as the vehicle descends and slows down, the conditions affecting its motion (such as atmospheric density and drag) change, which in turn affects the rate of deceleration and the trajectory.

In practical scenarios, especially for high-speed entries like those encountered during planetary re-entries, these factors necessitate complex modeling. Advanced simulations typically use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and numerical methods to solve the equations of motion, considering the changing atmospheric properties, vehicle dynamics, and the effects of heat and stress on the spacecraft.

This dynamic interplay of forces makes orbital decay and atmospheric re-entry some of the more challenging aspects of spaceflight, requiring precise calculations and robust engineering to ensure successful missions.

the deceleration seems very high for an atmosphere of 0.6% of Earth

You're correct to be cautious about the high deceleration value calculated for an object entering Mars' atmosphere, which is indeed much thinner than Earth's, having only about 0.6% of Earth's atmospheric pressure at the surface.

The high deceleration value in our calculation can be attributed to several factors in our theoretical model:

Simplified Model: The calculations used a simplified model that did not fully account for the complexities of atmospheric entry. Real-world scenarios involve changing atmospheric density, vehicle orientation, and aerodynamic heating, which significantly affect the descent.

Constant Atmospheric Density Assumption: We assumed a constant atmospheric density based on a specific pressure, which doesn't reflect the actual variation in density with altitude. In reality, atmospheric density decreases with altitude, which would reduce the drag force experienced by the vehicle as it ascends.

High Entry Velocity: The entry velocity of 5.7 km/s is quite high, and even in a thin atmosphere, this can result in significant drag forces. The drag force increases with the square of the velocity, so high speeds greatly amplify the effect of even a thin atmosphere.

Vehicle Design and Drag Coefficient: The assumed drag coefficient and vehicle design play a crucial role in determining the drag force. A high drag coefficient or a large cross-sectional area can lead to substantial drag forces, even in a thin atmosphere.

Given these considerations, the actual deceleration experienced by a vehicle entering the Martian atmosphere would likely be lower and would vary significantly throughout the descent, depending on the altitude, velocity, and vehicle design. Detailed simulations using more accurate models of the Martian atmosphere and the specific vehicle dynamics are necessary for precise predictions.

for the equivalent number of molecules to collide as an LEO entry from earth you would need (7.8*160)m/s velocity which is crazy fast

You're highlighting an important aspect of atmospheric entry and the role of molecular density in the deceleration process. In Earth's atmosphere, especially during re-entry from Low Earth Orbit (LEO), spacecraft encounter a dense atmosphere composed of numerous molecules. The high density of Earth's atmosphere contributes to significant atmospheric drag, which is crucial for slowing down spacecraft.

For Mars, with its much thinner atmosphere (about 0.6% of Earth's at the surface), achieving the same level of atmospheric drag would indeed require a much higher velocity, as you've indicated. The velocity you've calculated, 7.8 × 160 7.8×160 m/s (which equals 1248 km/s), is an extrapolation suggesting the required speed to encounter an equivalent number of atmospheric molecules as in Earth's LEO re-entry.

However, such a velocity is impractically high and far beyond typical spacecraft speeds. For context, the fastest spacecraft ever launched, the Parker Solar Probe, will reach speeds up to about 700,000 km/h (or approximately 194 km/s) at its closest approach to the Sun, which is still significantly lower than 1248 km/s.

In practice, missions to Mars must rely on a combination of factors to slow down spacecraft, including:

Aerobraking: Using the Martian atmosphere to gradually slow down over multiple orbits. Heat Shields: To protect against the intense heat generated during entry. Parachutes and Retro-Rockets: For final descent and landing. The challenge of landing on Mars is compounded by its thin atmosphere, which provides less assistance for slowing down spacecraft compared to Earth. As a result, Mars missions often involve complex entry, descent, and landing sequences to safely reach the surface.

the parachute wouldn't deploy at low speeds on Mars

You are correct in pointing out that the deployment of parachutes during a Mars landing presents unique challenges due to the planet's thin atmosphere. The effectiveness of a parachute is highly dependent on the density of the atmosphere in which it operates. Since Mars' atmosphere is only about 0.6% as dense as Earth's at the surface, this greatly affects how parachutes are used in Martian landings:

High-Speed Deployment: Unlike on Earth, where parachutes are typically deployed at lower speeds, Martian landers need to deploy their parachutes at much higher speeds to achieve sufficient drag. This is because the thin atmosphere provides less resistance, so a higher speed is necessary to create enough drag to slow the spacecraft.

Supersonic Parachutes: Mars landers often deploy their parachutes while traveling at supersonic speeds. This requires specially designed parachutes that can withstand the intense forces and stresses of supersonic deployment and operation.

Additional Deceleration Methods: Due to the limitations of parachutes in the thin Martian atmosphere, landers usually employ additional methods for deceleration and safe landing. These can include heat shields for initial atmospheric entry, retro-rockets (thrusters) for final slowing and controlled descent, and in some cases, innovative systems like the sky crane used by NASA's Curiosity and Perseverance rovers.

Complex Entry, Descent, and Landing Sequence: The entire process of entering, descending, and landing on Mars is a carefully choreographed sequence of events. Each step, from atmospheric entry to parachute deployment and final touchdown, is precisely timed and executed to ensure a successful landing.

The design and deployment of parachutes for Mars missions are therefore significantly different from those used for Earth landings, reflecting the unique challenges posed by the Martian environment.

where was the saturn v built?

The Saturn V rocket, which famously powered the Apollo missions to the Moon, was built at several locations across the United States, with different contractors responsible for various components:

Boeing: The first stage (S-IC) of the Saturn V was built by Boeing at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. This stage contained the powerful F-1 engines that provided the initial thrust to leave Earth's atmosphere.

North American Aviation: The second stage (S-II) was constructed by North American Aviation (later part of Rockwell International, now part of Boeing) at their facility in Seal Beach, California.

Douglas Aircraft Company: The third stage (S-IVB) was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company (later part of McDonnell Douglas, now part of Boeing) at their facility in Huntington Beach, California.

IBM and MIT Instrumentation Laboratory: The Instrument Unit, which contained the guidance and control systems for the Saturn V, was developed by IBM and the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory (now Draper Laboratory).

Final Assembly: The final assembly of the Saturn V rocket stages was carried out at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Each of these components was transported to the Kennedy Space Center, where they were assembled into the complete Saturn V rocket in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). The Saturn V remains one of the largest and most powerful rockets ever built and was a critical component of the Apollo program, enabling humans to land on the Moon.

how did they get stage one to the launchpad from there?

Transporting the first stage (S-IC) of the Saturn V rocket from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida was a considerable logistical challenge due to the immense size and weight of the stage. NASA used a combination of water and land transportation methods:

Barge Transport: The S-IC stage, being extremely large and heavy, was transported by barge from the Michoud Assembly Facility, which is conveniently located near waterways that connect to the Gulf of Mexico. The barge route involved traveling along the Gulf Coast and then entering the Intracoastal Waterway, which leads to the Atlantic Ocean.

Sea Transport: From the Gulf of Mexico, the barge would travel around the Florida peninsula and up the Atlantic coast to reach the Banana River, which is near the Kennedy Space Center.

River and Canals: The journey included navigating through various rivers and canals, a route specifically chosen to accommodate the enormous size of the Saturn V components.

Rolling to the Launch Pad: Once at the Kennedy Space Center, the S-IC stage was offloaded from the barge and transported to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) using a large crawler-transporter. Inside the VAB, the Saturn V stages were assembled vertically. The fully assembled rocket was then transported to the launch pad on the same crawler-transporter, moving along a specially constructed Crawlerway.

This transport process was a marvel of engineering and logistics, reflecting the immense scale and complexity of the Apollo program. The use of waterways for the bulk of the transportation was essential due to the impracticality of moving such large objects over long distances by land.

Add comment